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Commission denies gas storage appeal

READING--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently denied an appeal by Gas Free Seneca on their previous ruling permitting gas storage expansion in Reading. The ruling came Wednesday, May 20, and outlined the commission's reasoning for upholding their decision and denying requests for a rehearing.
The project would allow Crestwood's subsidiary Arlington Storage to expand natural gas storage in salt caverns near Seneca Lake in Reading. Opponents of the plan have cited safety concerns with the project, including questioning the stability of the caverns, potential gas and brine leaks into the lake, and the county's response plan in case of an emergency at the site.
The report is 16 pages long and claims FERC granted the company the ability to expand their storage capabilities within "Gallery 2," May 15, 2014. Gas Free Seneca filed the rehearing request Dec. 29, 2014, following the Sept. 30 notice to proceed with construction, given by FERC. According to FERC, Gas Free Seneca's request was filed 12 minutes and 50 seconds past the 5 p.m. filing deadline.
FERC's rejection notice describes Gas Free Seneca's concerns with the structural integrity of the caverns the natural gas will be stored in.
"The May 15 certificate order also addressed the claim that a seismic event had caused the collapse of the roof of one of Arlington's caverns while it was being operated by U.S. Salt, explaining that the occurrence of a seismic event had never been validated and an inspection of the cavern had shown that there had been no roof collapse," according to the FERC report. "In addition, the May 15 certificate order explained that a particular seismic fault line over which concerns had been expressed was in fact east of the Gallery 2 caverns, not located beneath the Gallery 2 caverns. In response to the claim that Arlington's storage operations would result in pressure changes in the Gallery 2 caverns that could cause the reopening of healed fractures originally caused by the previous salt mining, the May 15 certificate order explained that, unlike the dramatic and sudden pressure changes during salt mining operations that caused the fractures, the pressure changes during storage operations will be much smaller and occur gradually and therefore will not create the risk of reopening of the healed fractures."
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has yet to come to a decision regarding the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) part of the storage project.

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