URGENT! Rally at Watkins Glen NY against Crestwood’s plan to store massive amounts of pressurized gas in unlined salt caverns on the banks of Seneca Lake.


Crestwood pulls a fast one, we need YOU on Monday!

Sandra Steingraber’s invitation:

Dear fellow New Yorkers,

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the Finger Lakes. We truly need your help in Schuyler County on Monday.

But first, the good news: On August 11, the DEC announced a special Issues Conference regarding Houston-based Crestwood’s despicable, reckless plan to store massive amounts of pressurized gas (propane and butane, aka Liquefied Petroleum Gas) in old, unlined salt caverns on the banks of Seneca Lake.

In so doing, the agency put a temporary halt to that project. That outcome is a direct result of our collective public outcry.

But our happiness turned to horror when we read these words in the Steuben County Courier the next day:

“In a related development Tuesday, Arlington Storage Company, a division of Crestwood, submitted a 34-page Implementation Plan and Request for Clearance to Commence Construction of the Gallery 2 Expansion Project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The schedule attached to the plan indicates construction of a compressor will begin Aug. 18 and installation of wellheads and piping will begin Oct. 24.”


It’s true: Within 24 hours of receiving a de facto injunction on underground storage of butane and propane–because Governor Cuomo’s DEC determined that the risks were serious enough to warrant a closer look–Arlington chose to commence immediate construction on the underground storage of another gas, methane, knowing full well that the entire Finger Lakes community is staunchly opposed to the whole misbegotten enterprise.

And, yeah, August 18 is Monday.

Here is the confirming document, from Arlington/Crestwood to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that indicates Monday August 18 as the start date for compressor station construction: http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20140812-5017

Propane, butane, and methane.

They all leak.

They all explode.

They all contaminate water.

They are all the result of fracking.

And they all have terrible safety records when stored in salt caverns. (In Hutchinson, Kansas, compressed methane leaked from a salt cavern through naturally occurring fractures and fissures, and, miles away, houses exploded and burned. People died.)

What’s more, Crestwood is moving forward on Monday without an Underground Storage Permit from the DEC.

Last month, dozens of winery and business owners from the Finger Lakes region traveled to Albany to urge Governor Cuomo to halt these projects. Nearly 60 winery owners have also signed a letter to the Governor requesting that their growing sustainable region be protected from such industrialization. These businesses are opposed to BOTH methane and LPG storage.

Last January, dozens of health care professionals called for a halt to gas storage in these salt caverns on the grounds that they raised unacceptable risks of catastrophic accidents, contaminated water, and air pollution. These physicians are opposed to BOTH methane and LPG storage.

So, this is a distress call.

We need everyone to rally in front of Crestwood’s gates, just north of Watkins Glen, on Monday at noon. At the accompanying press conference, we will have some important announcements to make about what we the people intend to do next.

With scarcely any advance warning, we need to pull together a gathering that shows the breadth and depth of our opposition.

We need all of our voices, united, to say that we are not fooled and to denounce as a cynical shell game Crestwood’s plan to quietly and swiftly move forward with the storage of one type of pressurized fracked gas even while the DEC has issued a cease and desist order on the storage of another type.

This fight is only a lost cause if we choose to give up. And we can’t give up: Seneca Lake is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people and creates the unique micro-climate that allows New York’s wine industry to thrive. This lake is, quite literally, our life blood.

As an object lesson in why we now must carry on with even more determination, this week’s news brings a terrible story of earthquake tremors near a salt cavern collapse and resulting sinkhole in Louisiana. This scenario is exactly what we don’t want to happen in the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the heart of New York’s $4.8 billion wine industry. http://theadvocate.com/news/9986440-123/state-calls-for-tests-at

So, I’ll be seeing you all Monday at high noon in front of Crestwood’s gates. Details below.

Wear blue for clean water. Bring signs and banners. Just show up. And carpool if you can. Parking on site is limited.

It’s time to say, all together, Hey, Tex, what part of NO don’t you understand?

Crestwood is not waiting. Neither can we.

look for my blue dress,


Protesters Block Inergy Facility near Watkins Glen, NY

William Huston / Shaleshock Media

Over on Seneca Lake, just north of Watkins Glen is a salt mine that Inergy is converting to a gas storage facility. Even though there are tons of questions about the environmental issues – including a large  impoundment for holding brine that will be pumped out of the salt caverns when gas is stored – the company is steaming ahead with its plans.

Seneca Lake is beautiful, with wineries lining the shores and boats bobbing about. It’s nestled in between hills, so any leaking brine or other things would, of course, run downhill into the lake.


William Huston / Shaleshock Media

That’s got a number of citizens concerned. They’ve petitioned their town boards, the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and Inergy representatives, to no avail. So yesterday a few hardy souls – 17 of them, mostly gray-haired and over 60 – headed to the gate of the Inergy facility to express themselves more clearly.

William Huston / Shaleshock Media

Two of the protesters chained themselves to the fence and kept traffic from entering or leaving for two hours. Another stood alongside, refusing to move when ordered to do so by the police, summoned by Inergy to clear them out. Three people were arrested: Jerry Alderson of Hector, age 63 and editor of the No Frack Almanac; Gary Judson, age 72, a retired minister; and Susan Walker, aged 53, of Dundee.

William Huston / Shaleshock Media

They were charged with trespassing, stuffed into sheriff’s cars and transported to the Schuyler County Jail for processing. Lo and behold, there on the wall, engraved on a bronze plaque at the jail was a prayer that very well could have been written for these protesters:
Lord, I ask for courage.

Courage to face my own fear.

Courage to take me where others will not go.

I ask for strength.

Strength of body to protect others.

Strength of spirit to lead others.

I ask for dedication

Dedication to my job, to do it well.

Dedication to my community, to keep it safe.

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