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 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

Rally in Support of Finger Lakes Propane Storage Facility

propane storage at Seneca
Click for larger version

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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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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Criminals Arrested Blocking Crestwood Seneca Lake Facility

We Are Seneca Lake
We Are Seneca Lake criminals being carted off in a paddy wagon

When someone organizes and repeatedly shuts down a legal, functioning business with so-called “civil disobedience,” it’s not civil and it’s not an act of disobedience–it’s a crime. If you show up with a bunch of nutters to block the entrance to a facility once and the cameras are there to record it–you’ve made your point. Anti fossil-fuel radicals opposed to creating an underground propane storage facility in a depleted salt mine along the shore of Seneca Lake (in upstate New York) have recently stepped up their so-called civil disobedience at the facility–staging weekly blockades at the site three weeks in a row. One of those instances was on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when Sandra Steingraber, so-called scholar in residence at Ithaca College (where she’s paid to agitate and never teaches a class) invoked the name of Dr. King attempting to tie the great civil rights struggle with anti-fossil fuel nuttery. It’s offensive. Below is a rundown, with the names of the latest criminals who have colluded to try and shut down a legal business, Crestwood Midstream, from operating the facility they own at Seneca Lake…
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NY Fractivists Block Seneca Lake Facility, Santa & Grinch Dance

We’ve written many stories over the past few years about anti-drilling zealots who oppose the plan to convert a depleted salt cavern owned by Crestwood Equity Partners (nee Crestwood Midstream) along the shore of Seneca Lake, in Schuyler County, NY, to store liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane). The protests are typically a dozen people or less and often organized by Sandra Steingraber, a minor celebrity in fractivist circles. Steingraber is a so-called “scholar in residence” at Ithaca College. They pay her to do nothing but trot around making anti-fracking speeches, no doubt funded with money from the Park Foundation. A group of antis once again assembled in front of the Crestwood facility a few days before Christmas in an illegal blockade of the facility. What’s interesting about this latest infraction is that they no longer even pretend the facility would somehow be unsafe for Seneca Lake or nearby residents–a common lie they use in an attempt to scare the general public. No, this time the mask came off and their message was loud and clear: they oppose the facility because it would store a fossil fuel and in their irrational minds, all fossil fuels are evil. Or as their Christmas-themed sign said, fossil fues are “dirty energy” and that equals “naughty.” So-called renewable energy sources, like solar, are “clean” and “nice.” These nutters believe their “superior” intellect should dictate which energy sources *you* use, and they won’t stop insisting on your energy source until they’re either in jail, or in a retirement home (many of these old hippies are nearing that age)…
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4 Antis Opposing NY LPG Storage Facility Lose Big in Local Election

Today’s lead story on MDN is about the defeat of two anti-drilling Martians in Tuesday’s election–but this story is a close second in importance. Since 2010 a debate has ragged in Schuyler County, NY over whether or not to allow then-Inergy, now-Crestwood Midstream, to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake into underground storage for LPG–liquefied petroleum gas (i.e. propane). We’ve covered the story extensively on MDN over the years. The current status is that an administrative law judge is reviewing the plan, but ultimately the head of the state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will grant a final decision on whether or not to allow the plan to move forward. Unfortunately the DEC is mired in politics–controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is in turned influenced by his lunatic left wingnuts. Over the years some of those wingnuts like Sandra Steingraber, so-called “scholar in residence” at Ithaca College (paid to do nothing but trot around lying about fracking), and Josh Fox of Gasland fame have protested and gotten themselves arrested at the facility during publicity stunts. Antis need a forum to vent and they can’t get themselves arrested every day (that gets old), so they turned to the local town board (Town of Reading) where the LPG plant would be located. Board meeting after board meeting they bleated and blatted about the facility–to the point the board has forbidden any more discussion of the issue. So the antis mounted a challenge to the local town supervisor, two town board seats and the town clerk. In Tuesday’s election, all four antis running for those seats went down to a HUGE defeat. Wasn’t even close. Which is noteworthy, and heartening, that in our beloved overtaxed, over-regulated, over-liberal New York State there are still clear-headed people who see through the lies and smears of the antis. Here’s the story of their defeat, and why Reading is so important in this debate…
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Binghamton Newspaper Runs Anti-LPG Propaganda as “News”

A well-known activist and anti-driller flying under the label of “reporter”–Tom Wilber–was actually paid to write six, possibly seven articles for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin appearing in the print edition on Sunday. The so-called “Watchdog Report” in the P&SB takes aim at an underground liquefied propane storage facility proposed by Crestwood Midstream along the shore of Seneca Lake (in a depleted salt cavern) and is what laughably passes as “news” these days in the People’s Republic of New York–where the only “news” allowed in Democrat rags like the P&SN is bad news when it comes to the shale industry. In most newspapers the entire section appearing in the P&SB, which amounts to free advertising for the virulent anti-drilling group Gas Free Seneca, would properly be labeled as an “Advertisement” or “Advertising Supplement.” But not in the P&SB. Unsuspecting readers of the P&SB are treated to a couple of front page stories about “environmental concerns” about the very safe underground storage facility planned near Seneca Lake. When you look further in, the entire first section of the newspaper is jammed with more stories–six in all–plus a seventh that was almost certainly written by Wilber labeled as an “editorial” from the newspaper itself. Example of the extreme bias: one of the stories is about railroads, tossed in to create FUD–fear, uncertainty and doubt–about the LPG facility by stating that LPG from the Crestwood facility will be hauled by railroad over a creaky old railroad bridge through historic Watkins Glen State Park with its beautiful gorges and waterfalls. The image is what would happen if there was an accident and the train fell into the gorge. Of course Wilber doesn’t bother to report that carloads of really nasty, toxic chemicals traverse that same railroad bridge each week–it’s only LPG (simple propane that would evaporate) that has him concerned. Wilber calls it a potentially “epic hazard.” What a joke…
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Will Companies Continue Making Grants after Pipelines are Built?

We love pipelines. We love the companies that build them. Pipelines are the safest form of transportation period–bar none. The thing we don’t love is how pipeline companies are buying support for their projects. We’ve written about it before (see Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?; PennEast Payola? Buying Support One Community at a Time; and Kinder Morgan Hops on the Pipeline Payola Bandwagon in NEPA). Our objection is not to these midstream companies making community grants–much needed funds for very worthy purposes. Our objection is to the timing of the grants. Rather than make the grants before all of the permits are granted and the work has begun, wait and make the grants after the work has begun–to prove you want to be a good neighbor. An article from Schoharie County, NY about the Constitution Pipeline’s payola caught our eye and sparked a question for us: Will the Constitution still be making these community grants, to prove they’re good neighbors, long after the pipeline is built?…
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Josh Fox Among 21 Arrested at Crestwood Facility in Upstate NY

handcuffsThank God we get some comic relief every now and again by the bizarre antics of anti-drillers. Covering the miracle of wholesome, safe and good hydraulic fracturing and the many benefits to society of natural gas is rewarding, but what makes it fun is to point out the hypocrisy and stupid behavior of those who oppose it. On Wednesday a group of mostly old upstate NY hippies staged yet another protest and illegally blocked the entrance of the future underground propane storage facility near Watkins Glen, NY owned and operated by Crestwood Midstream. Getting arrested in front of the Seneca Lake facility to gain media attention is a regular occurrence (see 10 Antis Arrested for Blocking Crestwood Facility at Seneca Lake and NY Protesters Arrested for Blocking NatGas Storage Facility). On Wednesday, the largest number of protesters illegally blocking the facility–a veritable mob–was arrested. There were 21 arrests in all. Among them was Gasland mockumentary maker and minor celebrity Josh Fox…
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NY DEC Signals Support for Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project

A little good news coming from New York State for a change. The state’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has “quietly” given its support to the Crestwood Midstream plan to use a depleted salt cavern along the shores of Seneca Lake to be used as a propane storage facility. We’ve written about this before–about the very safe plan to use it in this manner, and about protesters like Sandra Steingraber who seem to enjoy trips to the county jail for blocking the facility, repeatedly (see Steingraber, 2 Others Sent to Jail for Refusing to Pay Fine). In February an “issues conference” was held before an administrative law judge where testimony was given by both sides–Crestwood Midstream and anti-drillers. The anti-drilling side is being funded by the odious Earthjustice and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The DEC has sent a brief (full copy below) saying, in essence, (a) those against the project haven’t proven this facility would bring about environmental Armageddon, as they say it would, (b) some of the loonies opposing it don’t even have standing to oppose it, and (c) no more hearings are required. The only continuing reservation we have, and the reason we’re not celebrating just yet, is that the person who will make the ultimate decision is the head of the DEC, the anti-drilling Joe Martens, a man deeply in the pocket of Big Green…
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