Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

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Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:13 am

Seneca Lake gas-storage proposal advances to DEC
Public meetings scheduled on Inergy plan
5:35 PM, Apr. 3, 2011
Written by
G. Jeffrey Aaron

The Kansas City-based energy company that is looking to establish a liquid petroleum gas storage facility on the western side of Seneca Lake has completed the preliminary environmental impact statement (EIS) required for the project.

Meanwhile, Inergy -- the company behind the $40 million project -- and Gas Free Seneca, a citizens' group concerned about it, have each scheduled separate public information sessions on the plans.

Inergy spokeswoman Debbie Hagen said the draft environmental statement was submitted to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation on March 15.

Details of Inergy's plans for the former New York State Electric and Gas Corp. property include building an underground storage facility for propane and butane on part of a 576-acre parcel near routes 14 and 14A in the Town of Reading, a 14-acre brine pond on a steep slope above Seneca Lake, six-track railroad siding and a truck loading station.

Hagen said in an e-mail that Inergy "is aware of the concerns of the public and areas of focus that would be required to be included in the EIS. (Inergy) believes that the EIS provides the information required by the DEC's scoping document and does respond to the concerns of public commenters."

In November, the DEC said that because of the potentially adverse impact the LPG storage project may have on the environment, it would require an environmental impact statement based on a review process adopted by the DEC in 1992.

But in February, because of public comments on the project, the DEC revised the information required in the statement to cover issues not found in the 1992 document. Inergy then included the additional material in the statement.

Those revisions include:

* Analysis of the historic seismic activity and potential impact on the storage operation and the brine pond.

* Review of the use of the rail line crossing the Watkins Glen gorge.

* Analysis of the lighting, noise and aesthetic concerns with the facility's surface components.

* Evaluation of public safety concerns.

* Review on the stability of the brine pond and methods to lessen its potential impact on surface and ground water.

The DEC is reviewing Inergy's 165-page filing.

If the environmental statement is accepted, it will be made available for public inspection. If not, the DEC will require corrections or additional information before releasing it to the public.

The document will then be subject to a 30-day public comment period and copies will be available at the Reading Town Hall and at the DEC's Avon office.

Hagen said Inergy plans to hold a public information session on the project from 6 to 9 p.m. April 13 at the Watkins Glen Community Center in Clute Memorial Park.

Technical and industry experts will be on hand to provide information. Hagen said the meeting's purpose is to address community concerns and correct any misperceptions about the project.

The following evening, the Schuyler County-based citizens' group Gas Free Seneca is sponsoring a public forum on the project.

It is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 14 at Watkins Glen High School, and the group has its own line-up of technical and environmental experts.

With the potential to affect all aspects of life in the region, the topic is one that everyone should be as well educated about as possible, Gas Free Seneca said in statement.

"We're concerned about the area that is known for the lakes, the countryside and years and years of promoting agriculture, tourism and wineries becoming an industrial center for liquid propane gas storage," said Joseph Campbell, a group member.

Gas Free Seneca also is concerned about the possibility of the brine used in the underground storage process leaching from the storage caverns into Seneca Lake.

"How do we know the liquid propane won't do the same," Campbell said.

"The plans also call for a lined pond on the hillside to hold the brine and cutting into the hillside to build an earthen berm to contain the brine. What happens if the berm fails and the brine gets into the lake?"

In 2008, Inergy bought the U.S. Salt plant outside Watkins Glen to build "an integrated gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast." And in February, New York's Public Services Commission approved the $65 million sale of the Seneca Lake storage facility and two related pipelines that were formerly owned by NYSEG to Inergy affiliates Arlington Storage Co. and Inergy Midstream.

Inergy wants to convert the property into a storage operation that will operate in conjunction with a similar facility in Bath. Inergy also owns natural gas storage facilities in Tioga and Steuben counties.


http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20110403/NEWS01/104030343/Seneca-Lake-gas-storage-proposal-advances-DEC

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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Matt » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:18 am

I take it this is more of an anti-development issue than an environmental one down there?

NG storage isn't much of an environmental issue with modern facilities (other than them being abandoned).
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:26 am

The brine pond is a major concern. I need to read more about the other impacts.
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Matt » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:51 pm

depends on what constitutes the "brine"
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:08 pm

Opposition grows to gas facility

WATKINS GLEN—A panel of professionals and residents raised economic and environmental concerns, Thursday, April 14, about the proposed $40 million gas storage and transfer facility in Reading.
The meeting was held one day after the project’s parent company Inergy, LLC held a meeting of its own. Inergy wants to store propane and butane in two underground salt caverns. The overriding concerns expressed Thursday were about the environmental impact of the project and the impact of industrialization on the Finger Lakes overall. Around 300 people attended the forum.
John Halfman, Hobart and William Smith Professor, spoke about the salt levels of Seneca Lake. He explained currently Seneca Lake has the highest salinity level of all the finger lakes: just over 80 parts per million compared to 15 to 35 parts per million for the rest of the Finger Lakes.
Halfman said he has looked at streams feeding into Seneca Lake, but that does not account for the high levels. He explained the lake does cut through a rock salt bed. He added he believes the salt is coming up from the bottom of the lake, from the salt rock layer. Halfman said the lake’s salt levels started going up about 100 years ago, when companies also started mining for salt in the area. Halfman added the salt levels peaked in the 1960s and 1970s and have decreased since then.
Halfman said use of the salt caverns might push out more salt into the lake, or possibly the gas. He also suggested Inergy pay for a study to done about the salt levels if they are sure there is no problem.
Thomas Shelley, retired Cornell University environmental health, safety, and hazardous materials expert, explained people do make mistakes so there is no guaranteeing any project will be free of accidents or spills. Jack Ossont, representative for the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, showed a few videos of worse case scenarios where train cars with gas exploded. He added these instances are very rare. Shelley listed a number of spills and leaks that happened in Watkins Glen from the late 1990s and early 2000s. He said Walter Hang, creator of Toxics Targeting, compiled the list.
Karen Edelstein, geographic information systems consultant, provided maps she created that show the proximity of the project to existing pipeline infrastructure and 115 storage wells in northern Schuyler County. The project would hook into the pipeline near the proposed location.
The final speaker was Yvonne Taylor, who owns property on Seneca Lake, almost opposite of the proposed project. She said Inergy Midstream Vice President Bill Moler said the company was our neighbor. However, upon asking each of the representatives, Taylor said none live in Schuyler County and most live outside of the state.
“I stand here as your neighbor,” she said. Taylor added at the end of her segment, “This is your call to action.”
Some of the speakers also tried to link this proposed project to the Marcellus Shale drilling industry. However, Bill Moler, senior vice president of Inergy Midstream, explained at the previous meeting that Inergy does not drill for natural gas. It is only an energy storage and transportation company.


http://www.observer-review.com/news.php?viewStory=2194
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:16 pm

But Inergy has nothing to do with Marcellus Shale drilling:

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1079049304?bctid=75891229001

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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Matt » Mon May 09, 2011 2:30 pm

Ok, I read up on this. It seems to me like the environmental concerns are a bit unfounded and paranoid (this is coming from an environmentalist ;) ), but the major consensus of concerns I see from the opposition is well... the degradation of scenic beauty (from the plant itself as well as the traffic it would bring). I wholeheartedly agree. :up:
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Mon May 09, 2011 4:11 pm

It's not just aesthetics, though of course that is a huge concern for me. There are concerns about the integrity of the brine ponds, as well as the storage areas themselves. I'd rather be paranoid than sorry that I didn't ask questions after the fact. I have zero faith that Inergy has our best interests at heart.
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Wed May 11, 2011 1:53 pm

Wine, tourism advocates oppose plans to store liquid petroleum gas at Seneca Lake
2 public information meetings scheduled next week
7:16 PM, May. 10, 2011
Written by
G. Jeffrey Aaron
jgaaron@gannett.com

Winery owners and others involved in Seneca Lake's tourism-based businesses are organizing in opposition to the plans by a Missouri-based energy company to establish an underground liquid petroleum gas storage facility in the Town of Reading.

Two public information sessions are scheduled at sites on either side of Seneca Lake -- one on May 17 at Damiani Wine Cellars in Burdett and the second on May 18 at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee. Starting times for both are 7 p.m.

"The lake is why we can grow the grapes and the water is why we can brew our beer," said John Rogers, owner of Two Goats Brewery LLC in Burdett. "The water affords us the living we are trying to carve out for ourselves. It's painful that profit motive will dictate the outcome of the lake."

Inergy, based in Kansas City, Mo., is looking to operate a storage facility for propane and butane on a 576-acre site on the western side of Seneca Lake. The fuels would be stored in depleted underground salt caverns. Also included in the $40 million project are truck and railroad loading stations to transport the fuel and a 14-acre retention pond for brine -- used in the underground storage process of the two fuels -- near the intersection of Routes 14 and 14A.

Inergy submitted an environmental impact statement in mid-March to New York's Department of Environmental Conservation. The agency has requested additional information, which the company is in the process of providing, company spokeswoman Debbie Hagen said in an e-mail.

"The company looks forward to securing the necessary approval and moving forward with the project in the very near future," Hagen's e-mail read.

Lou Damiani, co-owner of the Burdett winery, is circulating petitions against the project. Heading the list of his concerns, which are shared by other project opponents, are the project's potential damage to the environment, disrupting of the natural beauty of the lakeside areas and harming the wineries that have sprung up throughout the region and are a major tourist draw.

"We've watched the industry come a long way in the last couple of decades and we are right on the verge of becoming a world-class destination where we can become known as a world-class wine region," Damiani said. "We're already known as the No. 1 lake tourist spot in the world and we need to protect the industry."

Meanwhile, Jeremy Alderson, of Hector, operates a nonprofit business in Schuyler County and guest cottage that is rented to tourists and writers or musicians seeking a work retreat.

"I suspect you will not find any artists whose imagination is aided by thoughts of the good profits that Intergy will be making," Alderson said in an e-mail.

"On the other hand, there are undoubtedly many others like my wife and myself who are somewhat put off by visualizing the pollution and deterioration of our beautiful area, the loss of our wonderful way of life, and the possibility of getting blown to bits in a natural gas explosion."

Inergy, which owns the U.S. Salt facility outside Watkins Glen, says the plan is safe. In a written statement, the company said the project is an "environmental friendly manner in which to re-utilize solution mined caverns" that have "been a part of the Watkins Glen community for over 100 years."

The company also said TEPPCO and NYSEG have stored gas near their proposed location here the same way for several years.

Representatives of both sides of the issue held public information sessions on the proposal last month. Hagen said about 200 people attended a company-sponsored event, held at the Watkins Glen Community Center. Following a presentation by Inergy's Midstream Senior Vice President Bill Moler, and remarks by National Propane Gas Association President Roland Penta, those who attended were given the opportunity to visit with engineers and safety experts.

Another session, sponsored by GasFree Seneca Group, was held on the following night at Watkins Glen High School and attended by Rogers.

"I was happy to see there was a collection of folks that were willing to speak their mind," he said. "But it didn't seem like we were getting the full story because 90 percent of us, I felt, were all on the same page. To have a true debate, you need to have both sides represented and we didn't get the other side."

http://www.stargazette.com/article/20110510/NEWS01/105100357/Wine-tourism-advocates-oppose-plans-store-liquid-petroleum-gas-Seneca-Lake?odyssey=nav|head
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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Thu May 19, 2011 8:25 am

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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:52 am

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Re: Gas Storage Beneath Seneca Lake

Postby Brenda » Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:26 am

I know that most folks live too far away to participate in this event, but it sounds like a great time! It starts at 6:00 this evening.

inaugural finger lakes craft beer festival
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