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Village hears both sides of gas argument   ADVERTISEMENT

Village hears both sides of gas argument

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen village board continued to hear public comments regarding the proposed liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage project in Reading. Several members of the public voiced their concerns during the regular meeting Monday, Aug. 4, with people representing both sides of the issue.
David Crea, project manager at U.S. Salt spoke to the board in support of the facility, asking the board to arrange a tour to see what the Crestwood facility in Reading will look like so they can understand more about the proposed LPG storage proposal. Mayor Mark Swinnerton said the village has already reached out to Crestwood and they are trying to arrange a day when all board members can attend a tour. Crea encouraged the board to conduct the tour and “not make decisions in the dark.”
Hector resident Rob Mackenzie also spoke to the board about how other companies around the country handled their safety issues, saying he calculated a risk of 40 percent over 25 years. He said Crestwood’s initial 2012 review was limited to studying the release of gas and their equipment. Mackenzie said it did not address the local risks of propane transportation by road or rail, the risks to the lake by salt brine, the frequency of leaks and explosions at other similar sites or geological concerns with the integrity of the salt caverns.
Mackenzie said the frequency of incidents involving casualties was 20 times higher in salt caverns than it was in oil or gas fields. He said the tanker truck risks on a normal road is around 5 percent, but added it goes up to 10 percent when you factor in the steepness and sharp curves of the roads coming into the village. After listing several risks associated with similar projects, he said he recommended to Gov. Andrew Cuomo the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) they deny Crestwood the permit for this storage facility during a recent trip to Albany.
Swinnerton again emphasized the position the board needs to make the best decision for the village as a whole.
“When we are looking at this project, we have to look at it upon our village residents,” Swinnerton said. “That’s who we represent. We don’t represent anyone outside the village limits. We don’t represent the county as a whole.”
Swinnerton said the increase in truck traffic has been a prime concern so far for the village as well as protecting the lake. He said the county has been trying to promote tourism in the area for the last 30 to 50 years as well. Speaking for himself, Swinnerton said “I wish they would deny it [the permit,]” but added the board still needs to see from both sides of the argument before coming to a decision for the village.
Angie Franzese and Gita Devi also spoke during the meeting. They said they have spoken with more residents who oppose the project than support it.
“It comes down to what is the benefit to Watkins Glen,” Trustee Paul Clifford said. “I personally don’t see the benefit against the amount of risk.”
In other business:
• The board granted conditional approval to the Seneca Swim fundraiser event Aug. 23, and the Jet Ski event Aug. 23 and 24.
• The board approved a local law to regulate street vending in the village. A public hearing was held during the meeting during which no one spoke.

 

 

 



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