DEC issues conference is set for Feb. 12
HORSEHEADS--The heated debate over gas storage in salt caverns along Seneca lake may come to a head in little more than a week as interested parties meet at a Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues conference Thursday, Feb. 12. The meeting will take place at the Holiday Inn in Horseheads Thursday at 10 a.m. It may continue as necessary the following day Friday, Feb. 13. The conference will be open to the groups, which include both the applicant Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC as well as several groups who have safety and environmental concerns with the project.
Those who attend will discuss the issues related to Crestwood's proposed plan to construct and operate a new underground liquified petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility at the 576 acre site located along Routes 14 and 14A in Reading. The conference is a "pre-adjudicatory hearing," which may lead into an adjudicatory hearing in the future pending the outcome. The event is open to the public but seating is limited to 200 people.
"As proposed, a maximum of 2.10 million barrels (88.20 million gallons) of LPG would be stored in the caverns seasonally, displacing some of the brine currently filling them," according to the project description on the DEC website. "[It] will be withdrawn by displacement of propane by brine when demand occurs during the heating season and displacement of butane by brine during the gasoline blending season. During storage operations, the brine displaced by LPG would be stored and contained in two double-lined brine ponds."
Among the groups opposed to the project are are the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA), a group representing 12 municipalites throughout the Finger Lakes Region, Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, consisting of more than 100 wineries and related businesses (FLXWBC) and Gas Free Seneca, a grassroots coalition of thousands of residents and more than 260 local businesses. These groups will have representation at the conference who will present the arguments against the DEC granting the requested permit for the LPG storage at the site.
"The facility would connect to the existing TEPPCO LPG interstate pipeline, and would ship LPG by pipeline, by truck via Routes 14 and 14A, and by rail via the existing Norfolk and Southern Railroad," according to the project description. "As proposed, the project involves construction of a new rail and truck LPG transfer facility, consisting of a six-rail siding capable of allowing loading and unloading of 24 rail cars within 12 hours, and a truck loading station capable of loading four trucks per hour. The rail and truck loading facility would be capable of operation on a 24-hour basis, 365-days a year. Construction would also include surface work consisting of truck and rail loading terminals, LPG storage tanks, offices and other distribution facilities, and storm water control structures."