In spite of Governor Cuomo’s honorable and farsighted decision to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State, the exploitation of salt caverns (with a capacity of 88.2 million gallons) to store Liquid Petroleum Gas in a 14 acre lined surface pond above Seneca Lake is still part of Big Oil’s wide-ranging and multifaceted strategy to transform our region into a center for shale gas distribution. According to a U.S. Salt LLC acquisition press release issued by Inergy (now Crestwood), the Houston based corporation freely acknowledged that, “this transaction is yet another example of the successful execution on our plan to build an integrated natural gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast”.
Any nature lover who has driven along Route 14 and 14A knows in their heart that this stretch of land is a national treasure. The farm stands and wineries overlook a panorama of stunning valleys nestled alongside the most pristine lake in a world-class collection of lakes. Yet the grassroots environmental organization Gas Free Seneca claims the Crestwood project involves the construction of a new rail and truck transfer facility consisting of a six-rail siding capable of allowing the loading and unloading of 24 rail cars within 12 hours and a truck loading station capable of loading four trucks per hour. This depot will be able to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, year round, bringing trucks and train cars filled with propane and butane in and out of this facility in a constant cycle. And all of this must be considered in the context of other terrible risks like roof collapses, gas explosions, and water contamination.
Fortunately courageous environmental activists are demonstrating at the Crestwood facility, and they are galvanizing anyone who cares about protecting this priceless jewel to use every nonviolent means available to stop this corporate highjacking. They are showing that losing one's land base to the forces of greed is a worst penalty than jail.
Speaking on a global level, the most advanced scientific assessments have shown that the entire planetary hydrologic cycle is unstable due to the release of carbon emissions, the loss of stratospheric ozone and the extinction of animal and insect species. In ways, the very engines of evolution are broken. In light of our planet's tremendous fragility, the last thing that is needed is another "transportation hub in the Northeast."