Seneca Lake LPG Storage Project is Now Officially Dead

Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (and tool of Andrew Cuomo and Big Green radicals) has officially killed the Seneca Lake LPG storage project planned near Seneca Lake. In May, Crestwood, the project’s sponsor, said the depleted salt cavern that would house the LPG (propane) underground may leak in one small area (see Crestwood Testing Proposed LPG Storage Site @ Seneca Lake for Leaks). That was all the Big Green radicals, including Seggos, needed as an excuse to kill the project. Seggos saw his opening and took it. Last Thursday Seggos issued a 31-page ruling denying the project (copy below). It’s obvious from the length of the report and the stated reasons that he uses, that Seggos had already, long ago, decided to deny the project. He talks about cockamamie, airy fairy things like the project is “inconsistent with the character of the local and regional Finger Lakes community.” Really? As if the salt mining operation that used to be there was consistent with the character of the region? It’s all nonsense. This report was written months ago, before the “leak” issue was known. The fact that one small part of the underground storage caverns (plural) is not airtight was the magic bullet Seggos needed to pull the trigger. And he did. While Crestwood has not yet responded and admitted that the project is dead, we see no way it can now move forward. Hey Schuyler County, how does it feel to kiss a $30 million addition to your tax base goodbye? What’s that? Nobody is left who lives in Schuyler County any more? Guess we know why…
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Crestwood’s Seneca Lake, NY LPG Storage Facility Effectively Dead

How LPG storage works – click for larger version

One by one the nails have been driven into the coffin of a much-needed project in Upstate New York to store LPG–liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane). In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (in Schuyler County, NY, near Watkins Glen) into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later renamed to Crestwood Equity Partners. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. We won’t recount all of the ins and outs, ups and downs, of this project (most of them legal). You can read our previous stories here. The one thing the Seneca Lake LGP project has always had going for it, the spark and glimmer of hope, is strong local support from the Schuyler County Legislature. That is, until now. In a unanimous vote Monday night, the legislature voted to rescind its support for the project. It’s not the final nail in the coffin, but we’d call it the next-to-final nail…
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Crestwood Testing Proposed LPG Storage Site @ Seneca Lake for Leaks

Lately we’ve wondered what’s been going on in the years-long struggle by Crestwood to create an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, or propane) storage facility in a depleted salt cavern along the shoreline of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Last December we brought you the news that Crestwood had won a victory when a chief administrative law judge, part of the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), ruled against antis who are demanding ongoing, never-ending hearings about the project–a transparent tactic to continue the years-long delay in perpetuity (see Crestwood Scores Big Victory in Seneca Lake LPG Storage Project). The judge said the DEC has all the evidence it needs to make a decision. Of course, the decision will get made by a radical anti who heads up the DEC–Basil Seggos (part of the National Resources Defense Council cabal that opposes all fossil fuel projects). So the project still has miles to go before it becomes reality. But now, a new setback, not that the project hasn’t been “setback” from the beginning by radicals. This time the setback comes from within. An attorney representing the project sent a letter to the DEC on May 17 asking them to delay (?!) a decision while Crestwood runs more tests on well pressure to “determine its suitability as a gas storage unit.” That is, the depleted salt cavern may leak. Radicalized antis have pounced, demanding the DEC cancel the project forthwith–even before the test results are in…
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Crestwood Scores Big Victory in Seneca Lake LPG Storage Project

This news is a bit dated, but still important. Crestwood Equity (used to be called Crestwood Midstream) won an important court victory in September regarding its plan to build an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, or propane) storage facility in depleted salt caverns in New York. In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (in Schuyler County, NY, near Watkins Glen) into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later renamed itself Crestwood Equity Partners. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Earlier this year Crestwood scaled back its plans, dropping natgas storage but keeping LPG storage (see Crestwood Drops Seneca Lake Natgas Storage Plan, Keeps LPG Plan). In September, a chief administrative law judge, part of the DEC, ruled against antis who are demanding ongoing, never-ending hearings about the project–a transparent tactic to continue the years-long delay in perpetuity. The judge said the DEC has all the evidence it needs to make a decision. Of course, the decision will get made by a radical anti who heads up the DEC–Basil Seggos (part of the National Resources Defense Council cabal that opposes all fossil fuel projects). So the project still has miles to go before it becomes reality. Perhaps insurmountable miles. But, let’s enjoy this major victory against antis, spun as a minor victory by profoundly biased “reporter” Tom Wilbur in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
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Crestwood Sells Salt Operation in Watkins Glen, Keeps LPG Storage

Our heart stopped when we saw news from Crestwood Equity (used to be called Crestwood Midstream) yesterday that the company has sold its US Salt business on the shore of Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen to Kissner Group for $225 million. We thought, “Oh no! Crestwood has finally thrown in the towel on their Seneca Lake Propane Storage project!” But alas, our fears were unfounded. Background: In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (in Schuyler County, NY, near Watkins Glen) into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later renamed itself Crestwood Equity Partners. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Sound familiar? Same old delay and later deny strategy from our corrupt governor, Andrew Cuomo. As recently as May of this year, Crestwood remained committed to building the storage facility in depleted salt caverns originally drilled by US Salt, which is owned by Crestwood (see Crestwood Drops Seneca Lake Natgas Storage Plan, Keeps LPG Plan). Crestwood scaled back the plan, excluding storage of natural gas and instead sticking with storing just propane (or LPG, liquefied petroleum gas). So when we read the news in Crestwood’s third quarter update yesterday that the company has sold off US Salt–we thought that was the end of the LPG storage project. Apparently antis in the Finger Lakes region thought the same thing. A local news outlet published an incorrect story stating the LPG storage project is dead. But then Crestwood issued a follow-up statement to say no, the LPG project is still alive and kicking–they kept that part of the US Salt real estate and still intend to build the storage facility, when/if the corrupt Cuomo DEC issues the necessary permits…
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Crestwood’s Orange County, NY Rail NGL Terminal Opens Sept 6

Crestwood concept drawing for rail terminal in Orange County, NY – click for larger version

In February MDN told you we had made a discovery in reading through Crestwood Equity Partners (formerly known as Crestwood Midstream) quarterly update: the company is “developing a greenfield rail-to-truck NGL terminal in Montgomery, NY that will increase propane supply reliability across the Northeast markets” (see Crestwood Building Rail-to-Truck NGL Terminal in Orange County, NY). The terminal will come from “multiple producers in the Marcellus and Utica regions.” At that time, Crestwood was in the process of building the terminal, which will handle propane, in Orange County, NY–not far from New York City. Given NY’s allergy to any project related to fossil fuels, we found the news quite incredible. Something even more incredible: the terminal is done and the grand opening will happen next Wednesday, Sept. 6th…
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Crestwood Drops Seneca Lake Natgas Storage Plan, Keeps LPG Plan

Seneca Lake LPG facility – click for larger version

MDN has extensively covered the fight to get the Seneca Lake Storage Project permissioned. In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (in Schuyler County, NY, near Watkins Glen) into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later became Crestwood Equity. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Sound familiar? Same old delay and later deny strategy from man-child Andrew Cuomo. The plan, from the beginning, is to store both natural gas and LPG–or liquefied petroleum gas, commonly known as propane. Due to the ongoing delay from the NY DEC, last May the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which would oversee construction of the project, granted a two-year extension for the project to be completed (see Stalled Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project Gets FERC Extension). In a regular report filed with FERC on May 9, Crestwood’s Arlington Storage subsidiary (the company on paper attempting to build the facility) withdrew its request to build the portion of the project that would store natural gas–the “Gallery 2” project. However, Crestwood/Arlington Storage is still pushing forward with LPG (propane) storage at the Seneca Lake facility. A small-but-dedicated group of nutjob antis are heralding this as some sort of “tremendous victory.” It is nothing of the sort. The main part of the project has always been about storing propane, not natural gas…Continue reading

Crestwood Building Rail-to-Truck NGL Terminal in Orange County, NY

Crestwood concept drawing for rail terminal in Orange County, NY – click for larger version

As MDN was reading through the latest quarterly/full year 2016 update for Crestwood Equity Partners (formerly known as Crestwood Midstream), we discovered something fairly innocuous, but in our book, a big deal. Crestwood said the company is “developing a greenfield rail-to-truck NGL terminal in Montgomery, NY that will increase propane supply reliability across the Northeast markets. The terminal, which is expected to be placed into service in the summer of 2017, will be supported by product controlled by Crestwood from multiple producers in the Marcellus and Utica regions.” What?! How did that one slip by? Crestwood is in the process of building, and will open, a terminal to distribute propane–in Orange County, NY (not far from New York City). This is good news indeed–and we wonder how and why the antis haven’t been bleating about this project, the way they have been about Crestwood’s long-delayed propane storage facility along the shoreline of Seneca Lake (near Watkins Glen). No matter–we’ll take our small victories where and when we can get them. Disappointingly Crestwood makes no mention of the Finger Lakes LPG storage facility in their update. But the Marcellus does get a few mentions. Below are what we gleaned from the latest update on Crestwood’s Marcellus operations, along with more background on the forthcoming propane terminal in Orange County…
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Crestwood 3Q16: Turnaround Success, No Word on Finger Lakes LPG

CrestwoodCrestwood Equity Partners (nee Crestwood Midstream) recently issued its third quarter 2016 update. In April Crestwood announced that New York City utility giant Consolidated Edison Inc. has formed a 50/50 joint venture to purchase ownership of pipelines and storage facilities in the PA and NY Marcellus region (see Utility Giant ConEdison Buys a Piece of the Marcellus Midstream). The newly formed jv, called Stagecoach Gas Services, became official in June (see Con Ed & Crestwood Seal the Deal on Marcellus Pipeline/Storage JV). Perhaps the biggest news is that Crestwood has turned things around financially. In 3Q15 they lost $634 million. In 3Q16 they made $3 million. That’s a huge turnaround year over year (2/3 of a BILLION dollars!). Stagecoach and other projects in the Marcellus/Utica get an update in this latest quarterly report from Crestwood. We also spotted a few interesting slides from the latest PowerPoint deck…
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EPA Fines Crestwood’s NY Facility $312K for Paperwork Violations

pay fines here signThe rogue and out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its bullying ways when it comes to the oil and gas industry. Just coming to light (for us) is an action last week by the EPA to fine Crestwood Midstream’s Finger Lakes LPG Storage subsidiary $312,000–for not filing the right paperwork for their facility in upstate New York. Note that the fines are NOT for leaking methane or propane, NOT for endangering the public, NOT for actually doing ANY kind of environmental harm. The fines are for not filing the proper paperwork. The EPA is behaving like the mob running a protection money racket. Crestwood has to pay the EPA $154,000 in fines, and then pay $158,000 for new equipment for three local fire departments located near the facility. The antis are already using this paperwork violation as yet another reason to bleat and blat about Crestwood’s proposed underground propane storage facility along the shores of Seneca Lake. The paperwork violation is for a Crestwood/Finger Lakes LPG Storage facility in the next county–nowhere near Seneca Lake where the proposed propane facility is located. Makes no difference. Antis say it’s yet more evidence that Crestwood can’t be trusted to safely operate the propane storage facility…
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Rally in Support of Finger Lakes Propane Storage Facility

propane storage at Seneca
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Late breaking news: Tomorrow (Thursday), Aug. 18 there will be a rally to support Crestwood’s Finger Lakes LPG Storage Facility planned for the shore of Seneca Lake. The rally will be located at the entrance of the facility, at 3768 NYS Route 14 North, Watkins Glen, NY at 4:30 pm. The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation continues to obstruct this vitally important piece of infrastructure. The facility planned would store LPG (liquefied petroleum gas, or propane) in a depleted underground salt cavern. Anti fossil fuel wackos have been protesting continuously for the past several years. Many of them have been arrested for illegally blocking the entrance to the facility. Here’s your chance to show up and show your support for the facility, and send a loud and clear message to Andrew Cuomo that enough is enough. Here’s the details for the rally…
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Crestwood Offers Compromise on Finger Lakes Facility, Antis Reject

spit.jpgHow do you deal with people who are bullies and refuse to compromise? Answer: You defeat them and don’t give an inch in doing so. Crestwood Equity Partners (used to be Crestwood Midstream) bought a project years ago called Finger Lakes LPG–a proposed liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane) storage facility along the shoreline of Seneca Lake in beautiful Upstate New York. Seneca is one of the Finger Lakes. The facility would be built in a former, now depleted, salt mining operation. Salt mining was far more dangerous for the environment than a proposed underground propane storage facility would ever be–but you didn’t hear a peep about the salt mining operation from nutty environmentalists at the time. We’ve endlessly covered the antics of people like Sandra Steingraber–a professional anti-fracking agitator paid and on the staff of Ithaca College (funded by the Park Foundation). Steingraber opposes the Finger Lakes LPG facility because she has a visceral (and irrational) hatred for all fossil fuels–even though her house is heated with them, the school she “works” at is heated with them, the vehicle she drives is powered by them, etc. ad nauseum. Steingraber and dozens of others have been arrested a number of times for blocking the entrance to the facility. In a bid to compromise and address the concerns of Steingraber and others, Crestwood has, in our opinion, made a mistake. On Monday Crestwood sent a letter to the completely dysfunctional NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offering to scale back the LPG storage project–removing rail and truck shipments in and out of the facility–one of the major objections by Steingraber and other ninny nannies opposing the project. So what does the anti group “Gas Free Seneca” say to Crestwood’s gracious offer to meet them more than half way? They figuratively spit in the face of Crestwood. They demand the facility never get built. That’s the actions of  bullies and profoundly unreasonable (not able to be reasoned with) people. Which is why we say, they must be totally, utterly, and completely defeated…
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Crestwood 2Q16: Bleeding Slows, the Stagecoach Rides

CrestwoodCrestwood Equity Partners (nee Crestwood Midstream) issued its second quarter 2016 update last week. In April Crestwood announced that New York City utility giant Consolidated Edison Inc. has formed a 50/50 joint venture to purchase ownership of pipelines and storage facilities in the PA and NY Marcellus region (see Utility Giant ConEdison Buys a Piece of the Marcellus Midstream). The newly formed jv, called Stagecoach Gas Services, became official in June (see Con Ed & Crestwood Seal the Deal on Marcellus Pipeline/Storage JV). Stagecoach and other projects in the Marcellus/Utica get an update in this latest quarterly report from Crestwood…
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Con Ed & Crestwood Seal the Deal on Marcellus Pipeline/Storage JV

StagecoachIn April MDN brought you the news that New York City’s largest utility company–Consolidated Edison Inc.–had formed a 50/50 joint venture to purchase ownership of pipelines and storage facilities from Crestwood Equity Partners in the PA and NY Marcellus region (see Utility Giant ConEdison Buys a Piece of the Marcellus Midstream). The newly formed jv, called Stagecoach Gas Services, will be operated by Crestwood and includes four natural gas storage facilities (Stagecoach, Thomas Corners, Steuben and Seneca Lake) with a combined storage capacity of approximately 41 billion cubic feet; and three natural gas pipelines (MARC I, North/South and the East Pipeline) with a combined throughput capacity of 2.96 billion cubic feet per day. The deal closed earlier this week. Con Ed ponied up $945 million, and together with the pipelines and facilities “donated” by Crestwood to the jv, the new Stagecoach Gas Services company is worth an estimated $2 billion…
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Crestwood Could Have Begun Construction on Seneca Lake Storage

propane storage at Seneca
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As MDN told you last week, Crestwood Equity (formerly Crestwood Midstream) applied for and got a two-year extension on a proposed liquid propane gas (LPG) storage facility along the shoreline of Seneca Lake in a depleted salt cavern (see Stalled Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project Gets FERC Extension). The new news (for us) is that Crestwood could have started construction on the facility even without permission from New York State’s dysfunctional Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). However, Crestwood chose to keep the peace with and not rile the DEC and so instead elected to keep waiting via the FERC extension. We know how filing for an extension worked out for the Constitution Pipeline (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Yes, Crestwood could/should have begun construction–but didn’t. There’s a new wrinkle in this whole mess. The official NY State Geologist needs to approve the project before the DEC will sign off. The State Geologist, who works not for the DEC but for the state Dept. of Education, left and has not been replaced. The Dept. of Education has no plans to hire a new geologist any time soon. How convenient. Here’s the story of the ongoing delays with the Seneca Lake Storage Project, delayed since 2009 by the NY DEC and now by the NY Dept. of Education…
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Stalled Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project Gets FERC Extension

propane storage at Seneca
Propane storage at Seneca Lake – click for larger version

Some mildly good news for the much-needed propane storage facility proposed for Schuyler County, NY. MDN has extensively covered the fight to get the Seneca Lake Storage Project permissioned. In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later became Crestwood Equity. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Sound familiar? Same old delay and later deny strategy from Cuomo. Since the DEC is completely dysfunctional at this point, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is involved with approving the facility, has granted a two-year extension to Crestwood (and Crestwood subsidiary Arlington Storage Company) to give them more time to woo, cajole, entice and do whatever they can to get the DEC off it’s rear-end. Of course the FERC extension has sent the crazies protesters, like Sandra Steingraber, into orbit…
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