Sunday, February 08, 2015

Six reasons why Rochester must care about huge gas storage at Seneca Lake


CCGasSGilda Radner (television actress, comedian (1946–1989)) reminds us that “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.” Just after New York State finally bans Fracking, up comes the attempt for massive storage of methane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) on the shores of Seneca Lake. For the folks on the southern shores, this fossil fuel expansion project presents a clear and present danger:

“This project presents geological problems, can affect Seneca Lake water quality, presents health risks, is a threat to our winery and tourist economy, as well as being an infrastructure project that could negatively impact climate change.” Gas Free Seneca

Although a dramatic increase in gas storage at Seneca Lake is not an immediate threat to Rochester, we should help stop it. This increase in gas storage is an immediate threat to those who live on or near Seneca Lake and we should care just for that at reason. Friends don’t let friends get stuffed with explosive fossil fuels. But as the quote above suggests, this project is not just Seneca Lake’s problem. Our life support system is not walled by regions, states, or countries. Our environment is walled only by our planet. “ infrastructure project that could negatively impact climate change” means our region would continue to be part of the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, instead of part of the solution.

Here are at least 6 more reasons why folks in and around Rochester should act on this issue.

  1. As I stood in the crowd at this rally, I heard Howie Hawkins say it best: “… we are sitting right at the fork of the road, and If we let that project go forward, you know what that does, it locks us into decades of an infrastructure that the people made an investment are gonna want a return on, it forecloses the green energy path…”  Howie Hawkins at the "We are Seneca Lake Too" rally in Geneva, New York
  2. Even in a region of freshwater abundance, jeopardizing freshwater resources for the storage of fossil fuels is immoral.
  3. This massive gas storage project is threat to the economic health of our region--wine, tourism, and a lot of Rochesterians probably have cottages near the lake.
  4. We should not be expanding methane storage anywhere--not to mention the region of the Finger Lakes. Whenever you increase fossil fuels you decrease the price of gas and the public’s will to develop renewable energy.
  5. Fossil fuel development cannot be done safely when the emissions cannot be sequestered. Our ability to stuff fossil fuels deep into the group and keep it there safely forever is an ability we do not have on a large scale—and probably never will.
  6. Do you really only want to drink California or French wines?

How can Rochester help? Learn more: Go to R-CAUSES’s LPG & NATURAL GAS STORAGE IN SENECA LAKE SALT MINES NEAR WATKINS GLEN and my Seneca Lake web page and keep up-to-date. Sign the Save Seneca Lake Petition. Go to Gas Free Seneca and We Are Seneca Lake where you can donate to help defray legal costs by these groups and Pledge to Protect Seneca Lake.


Below is additional information and actions copied with permission from our friends over at R-CAUSE “Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction”


"I don’t think jobs should have to come at the cost of public health, and we can come up with an economic development strategy for the Southern Tier that develops the economy, produces jobs, but doesn’t put public health at risk,” Cuomo said in a radio interview Dec. 20. Couldn't the same be said for gas storage?

LPG Storage in NY Salt Cavern Linked to Salinity Spike in Drinking Water “For decades, scientists have puzzled over why Seneca Lake, the largest of New York State’s Finger Lakes, is by far the saltiest of the 11 glacier-carved water bodies. Now a Nevada hydrologist claims he’s solved the mystery. Tom Myers, who was hired by opponents of a plan to store liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in salt caverns at the southern end of Seneca, pins the blame on LPG storage in the same group of caverns between 1964 and 1984. “The risk of saline influx to the lake from LPG is very high and should be avoided,” Myers wrote in January. (February 6, 2015) DC Bureau)

ACTION 1: Call and/or email Governor Cuomo before the DEC Issues Conference Thursday February 12th! Thank him again for banning fracking and tell him that gas storage on Seneca Lake not only threatens public health and safety, but also threatens the thriving and growing agri-tourism economy.  The Finger Lakes must not be the sacrifice zone for the oil and gas industry.  We refuse to take all of the risk with no reward. The proposed gas storage facility on Seneca will not heat our homes, nor will it lower our home heating cost. Ask the Governor to deny gas storage permits in the Finger Lakes, specifically Crestwood’s gas storage propose on Seneca Lake, and support what is already succeeding here:

ACTION 2. DEC ISSUES CONFERENCE regarding the LPG Storage Facility on Seneca Lake, Thursday, February 12th (and 13th if needed), 10 AM, Horseheads Holiday Inn, 2666 Corning Road, Horseheads, NY 14845 

The Conference is a formal opportunity for pre-approved groups to present their arguments opposing and in support of the Storage Facility. Read more here.

Gas Free Seneca would like as many gas facility opponents to be there as possible. We need to out-number the gas facility supporters.  Please be sure to arrive early!  The court proceedings will be held in a room that holds 200, with those who have been permitted Party Status or filed Amicus Briefs being allowed in first, then room for others on a first come, first serve basis.

Please remember, we need to be an extraordinarily respectful crowd since this is an official court hearing, with an Administrative Law Judge.  We do not want to do anything that angers the judge, or prevents him from being able to hear Gas Free Seneca's arguments, so please, no chanting; and talking should be kept to a hushed minimum!

People should be able to assemble in the parking area and inside the Hotel.  Please bring respectful signs only if you do not intend to go into the court proceedings, or give your sign to someone who is not planning on going into the proceedings. 

Please Wear Blue, as a sign that you are opposed to gas storage on Seneca Lake!

The media is sure to be there in force. To get a good sense of the significant and substantive issues that will be discussed, we highly recommend you look through Gas Free Seneca's Petition for Full Party Status and the public versions of GFS's expert's reports found here:

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