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Legislature will consider gas storage opposition ADVERTISEMENT

Legislature will consider gas storage opposition

YATES COUNTY--The Yates County Legislature agreed to consider a potential resolution in opposition to the Crestwood liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage project in the Schuyler County, town of Reading. This came after the legislature heard a presentation from Gas Free Seneca representatives during their regular meeting Monday, Sept. 8. The legislature heard the group's concerns and agreed to consider the issue further in committee meetings before next month's meeting.
Co-Founder of Gas Free Seneca Joseph Campbell spoke to the legislature asking them to take a stand in opposition. This would be similar to what three other counties and several other townships surrounding Seneca Lake have done. He cited a letter of concern the Yates County Legislature previously sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), but said more decisive action is needed.
"You voiced your concerns, but what we need now is your opposition," Campbell said.
Former President and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca Rob Mackenzie discussed his risk analysis of the project, saying he has determined there is a more than 40 percent likelihood for an "LPG disaster of serious or extremely serious consequences within the county in the next 25 years." He said while the project is in Schuyler County, it could still have a significant impact upon Yates County due to the rail and truck transportation of gas associated with the storage project that will come through Yates County. Mackenzie said requesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo deny the permits to conduct the storage expansion is the only safe course of action to prevent a possible disaster from occurring at the site.
Steve Churchill of Seneca County cited concerns with the water of Seneca Lake, saying if something happens to it because of an accident at the salt cavern gas storage, it could potentially ruin the drinking water for more than 100,000 people. He said the structural integrity of the caverns are also in question, discussing a study that alleged a large rock formation fell from the ceiling of one of the caverns where gas is to be stored. Churchill said there have been accidents recorded at other gas storage facilities that were designed for gas storage, but added the salt caverns were never designed for the purpose of storing gas.
Legislator Bill Holgate said a resolution in opposition is something the legislature should look into, adding it is not worth the risk to Seneca Lake.
"This company is not a stand-up company," Holgate said. "If there is any risk to Seneca Lake, then why take that risk?"
Yates County Chairman Tim Dennis said the matter would be referred to the government operations committee for further discussion before readdressing it at next month's meeting.
In other business:
• The legislature tabled a resolution to fill a motor equipment operator position vacant in the highway department. Legislator Mark Morris said the decision should be postponed until they have a better understanding on their budget situation. Legislator Dan Banach disagreed, saying the legislature is "trying to balance the budget on the back of the highway department," adding it is not creating a new position and would only increase the workload on other employees if not filled. After a 10 to four vote, the legislature agreed to table filling the position until after budget hearings have been conducted.
• The legislature set a public hearing date for renewing a local law establishing an additional mortgage tax for mortgages on real property situated in Yates County for Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 6:05 p.m. Morris reiterated this is the renewal of the tax and it is not increasing.

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