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Residents call on commission to review Inergy plan again

    SCHUYLER COUNTY—Opponents of the Inergy gas storage and transfer station asked the Schuyler County Planning Commission to get the town of Reading to refer the project back to the commission for review and to demand Inergy do a quantitative risk analysis.
    The commission met Thursday, Sept. 8, to review referrals from village and town planning boards.  Commission Chairperson Deborah Cox explained there is no precedent for a re-review, but it is something they have been discussing.  She added they could make the request if they feel there has been a substantial change in the plans since the commission first saw them.
    The Inergy project originally came before the board in 2009, when it was first proposed to the town of Reading.  She explained they did not focus on reviewing the underground salt cavern storage aspects of the project because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would be involved.  Cox added the commission can only make recommendations, which the referring municipality could reject with a super majority vote.
    Rocky Kambo, Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension planning assistant, reported via live video feed that the commission is only considering a re-review at this time.  He explained the board could not even ask Reading to submit the Inergy project again until the DEC gives its final environmental impact declaration.  He added he does not know when that could happen, but it would be after the comment period is over.  The last day to submit written comments is Monday, Oct. 10.
    Commission member Chad Hendrickson, representing Reading, said he did not think the town would re-submit the Inergy plan for review.  However, he added he did not say they shouldn't re-review it.  Hector resident Bob Fitzsimmons spoke during public comment and said the commission should review the plan even if they are just a recommendation board.
    Gas Free Seneca organizer Joseph Campbell also spoke at the start of the meeting.  He said Inergy project opponents want the company to do an analysis of the potential hazards from storing and transferring liquid gas.  Lou Damiani also called on Inergy to do the QRA.
    Hector resident and U.S. Salt employee David Crea spoke in defense of the project.   He said a common misconception with propane is that it is explosive.  Crea said it is flammable, but only with an oxidizer agent being added.  He said tourists would see the brine pond for "a whole 10 seconds," if they were looking for it, and that shipping season is in the winter while tourism season is in the summer.


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