Winery owners state gas project flaws
FINGER LAKES--A group of more than 100 area businesses has written a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in opposition of Crestwood's proposed liquified petroleum gas (LPG) storage project in salt caverns along Seneca Lake. The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition (FLXWBC) is a newly formed coalition of businesses in Upstate New York, who wrote the letter to express their concerns for the pending Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit of Crestwood Midstream, a Texas-based gas company. The permit is required to store 88 million gallons of LPG and butane in the abandoned salt caverns on the shores of Seneca Lake.
The four page letter outlines specific concerns of the FLXWBC and is signed by over 100 local businesses who depend on Finger Lakes Wine Country tourism to survive.
"The Finger Lakes Wine Industry has developed a solid working relationship with Governor Cuomo and his team to improve business conditions for the wine industry, a $4.8 billion dollar economic engine for New York," said Scott Osborn, president of the FLXWBC.
The FLXWBC is one of four groups opposing the issuance of a DEC permit for the Crestwood gas expansion. Joining in opposition are the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, municipalities representing Seneca Lake Communities, and Gas Free Seneca.
"We view this Facility as a direct threat not only to Seneca Lake, but to the strong and growing tourism industry in the Finger Lakes," the letter states. "Many of us have worked so long and hard to establish the Finger Lakes brand and we are grateful for your ardent support of our industry."
The letter claims the wine, beer cider and spirits industry generates $4.8 billion annually in economic benefits, adding much of this business is related to tourism. The group claims with its 130 wineries, the Finger Lakes Region accounts for 75 percent of that sum. The letter also addresses the groups concerns about the structural integrity of the salt caverns to be used for storage, the safety risks of having such a facility, the potential environmental impacts and the desire for renewable energy to be developed in the region.
"In addition to the DEC hearing, we are appealing directly to the governor and his cabinet to stop this ill-conceived plan in the Heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country," said Osborn. "It offers all risk and little reward for the people of the Finger Lakes."
The FLXWBC is a member organization open to all wineries, vineyards, food producers and creatives in Finger Lakes Wine Country. The group claims the mission of the FLXWBC is "to lead upstate economic development through wine-driven agritourism and sustainable business practices, unifying wineries, vineyards, local food producers and creatives who are the stewards of Finger Lakes Wine Country."