WATKINS GLEN—The Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department arrested 12 protesters for trespassing at the entrance to Inergy Midstream’s facility off State Route 14 on the western shore of Seneca Lake, Monday, March 18. Later that afternoon, some 100 people attended an anti-Inergy rally at the Watkins Glen Seneca Harbor Park. Nearly 25 demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Inergy owned facility, starting around 10 a.m. Monday, to protest Inergy’s plans to build a liquid petroleum gas storage facility and proposed expansion of natural gas storage in salt caverns. Authorities on the scene arrested 12 protesters for trespassing, including Seneca Lake residents and college students. According to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department the people were: Marjorie K. Rodgers, 58, Elmira; Richard F. Jones, 64, Belfast; Michael E. Dineen, 64, Ovid; Melissa A. Chipman, 55, Hector; James Amato Borra, 64, Hector; Katarina Anya Anderson, 23, Ithaca; Kathleen C. Alvey, 22, Ithaca; Sandra K. Steingraber, 53, Trumansburg; Jack D. Ossont, 69, Himrod; Darmaye L. Marley, 53, Hector; Nathanael Tenorio Miller, 26, Ithaca; and Dennis James Fox, 20, Middle Island. Those arrested were issued appearance tickets to appear in the town of Reading court at a later date. Many of the people arrested attended the afternoon rally in Watkins Glen, including speaker Steingraber, a Hector resident and biologist. At the rally, Steingraber said Seneca Lake is used by more than 100,000 people as a source of drinking water. She said the proposed gas storage projects are a threat to that resource. Steingraber added, “nothing is more important.” “There’s no other lake like this in the world,” she said. Jane Winters, Reading resident, spoke because she lives within two miles of the Inergy facility. She also mentioned the proposal by Inergy subsidiary Arlington to convert two salt caverns in Reading for gas storage. Winters pointed out Arlington’s application said there was no public opposition to the project. “I think our presence here today indicates there is significant community opposition,” she said. Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cellars spoke to the potential impacts to the local economy and tourism industry. He said the winery business, which is important to the region, is renewable and sustainable. “This will ruin the area,” said Damiani. He added, “I openly question how much the gas industry pays the politicians.” “We will take care of this land like it was a child of our own,” added Bob Fitzsimmons, Hector resident. He added these projects will turn the Finger Lakes into the gas hub of the northeast, which would “pollute and destroy” the air and water. “Don’t let them in. Do whatever you have to do,” said Randy Moyer, former natural gas worker from Pennsylvania. Following the speakers at the rally, the group walked from the marina down Franklin Street shouting chants. The rally participants stopped at Fifth Street, then walked back to the park.
Inergy moves to increase storage project
READING—Arlington Storage Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Inergy Midstream L.P., is seeking permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to convert two salt caverns in Reading for natural gas storage. According to the application, this project is referred to as the “Gallery 2 Expansion Project” and was submitted for review Feb. 26. Arlington wants to increase the total working gas capacity of the Seneca Lake Storage Project from 1.45 billion cubic feet to 2 billion cubic feet. Inergy also owns U.S. Salt and is seeking approval from the state to establish a natural gas storage and transfer station in Reading, overlooking Seneca Lake. The proposal said this expansion is for “providing commercial storage service.” Arlington said the additional natural gas storage capacity is needed to satisfy the growing demand for storage services in the northeast. The company anticipates that the ongoing surge in gas production in recent years will generate increased interest in market area storage. Arlington claims, “the proposed expansion will entail no significant environmental or landowner impacts, as the commission found when it approved an essentially identical expansion project in 2002.” Arlington is also seeking to construct approximately 170 feet of 16-inch pipeline and 330 feet of 8-inch pipeline and related facilities to connect to the existing Seneca Lake Storage Project 16-inch natural gas pipeline. The application includes plans to stall a skid-mounted natural gas-fueled compressor to be used for gas injections during the de-brining process and plugging and abandoning two existing wells formerly used in operation of the Gallery 2 caverns in brine production and propane storage service. Arlington said they are not proposing any changes to the existing Seneca Lake Storage Project’s compressor station to increase maximum daily injection or withdrawal capabilities. All of the Gallery 2 Expansion Project facilities would be located on land owned by Arlington. The company wants the FERC to authorize the project by July 1. Shortly after acquiring the Seneca Lake Storage Project in 2011, Arlington began to pursue the Gallery 2 Expansion Project. Arlington evaluated existing wells, but in consultation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation determined that those wells were not appropriate for natural gas storage operations. Arlington sought permit authorization from the DEC to drill new wells into the two caverns, which the state granted in early 2012. “Gas Free Seneca and our legal partners, Earthjustice, remain steadfastly in opposition to this massive industrial gas storage project here in the Finger Lakes,” said Gas Free Seneca co-founder Joseph Campbell in a press release. Persons who wish to comment only on the environmental review of this project should submit an three copies of their comments to the Secretary of the Commission. Environmental commentors will be placed on the commission’s environmental mailing list, will receive copies of the environmental documents, and will be notified of meetings associated with the commission’s environmental review process. Motions to intervene, protests and comments may be filed electronically via the commission’s web site, https://www.ferc.gov, under the “e-Filing” link. The commission strongly encourages electronic submissions.