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Legislature withdraws support of gas storage project ADVERTISEMENT

Legislature withdraws support of gas storage project

WATKINS GLEN--The Schuyler County legislature held their regular meeting Monday, July 9 in the legislative chambers. The meeting was attended by some 20 people because the second resolution on the agenda included withdrawing support of Stagecoach's (formerly Crestwood) Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) storage facility project.
In 2014, the legislature voted five to three to support the project, urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue the necessary approvals for the project. The resolution at the time said Finger Lakes LPG Storage "demonstrated that it has minimized impacts to the maximum extent practicable and that the caverns to be used for LPG storage are well-suited for such use."
However, a new resolution introduced Monday evening, sought to withdraw support for the project and referenced a letter by Finger Lakes LPG Storage to the commissioner of the DEC which said: "a recently developed solution mining well (well 64) by US Salt, may be in communication with either Gallery 10 and/or other nearby wells." The term gallery refers to underground cavities or caverns. The resolution continues, "the draft permit issued by NYSDEC staff would require Finger Lakes to conduct a pressure test of Gallery 10 to ensure there is no connection with Gallery 1, as well as to identify whether other adjacent wells are in communication with Gallery 10." It concludes, "the Schuyler County Legislature hereby withdraws their support by repealing Resolution No. 213-14 and Resolution No. 251-16, pursuant to County Law § 153(6), for the Liquid Propane Storage (LPG) project pending completion of future pressure testing by Finger Lakes and subsequent review and approval by NYSDEC."
Just before the group voted, Legislator Michael Lausell spoke about the project, saying in part, "You all should be aware the risk analysis we relied on identified the issue of cavern integrity as the far greater risk. So I urge all of us to have a thorough discussion of the dangers this facility would bring into our community. It's been my position all along that without properly informing and educating ourselves, we have no business actively promoting this project."
The measure passed unanimously. During the public participation portion at the end of the meeting, many audience members praised the action, with the exception of one U.S. Salt employee who spoke against the resolution.
In other business, all other resolutions passed and a public hearing was held regarding the highway superintendent taking over the building and grounds responsibility and an associated rise in salary. The action has a net savings for the county. There were no comments.
Chairman Dennis Fagan closed the meeting talking about the increases the county has seen so far this year in sales tax and room tax. He mentioned the sales tax revenue is up nearly seven percent compared to last year and the room tax is up 30.9 percent. "The local economy appears to be doing very well," said Fagan.
The next legislative meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 13.

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