Binghamton Press Launches Crafty Campaign Against LPG

PennFuture - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW


The Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin has launched a full-throated and crafty propaganda campaign against Crestwood’s proposed LPG facility in Watkins Glen.

Journalism has died in this country as supposed newspapers and media outlets of record have joined the ranks of advocates and dropped any pretense of fair and accurate reporting. There is no more separation between editorial office and reporting. It’s all one big attempt to shape public opinion with warring ideological viewpoints and most of the media being on one side. Newspapers are entitled to opinions, of course, and wouldn’t exist in most cases  but for a desire to offer a particular side of any issue. It’s American as could be.

Today, though, much of the media views itself as part and parcel of the activist community; dedicated to being mouthpieces for politically correct special interest causes. They’ve crossed the line from being fair-minded reporters with views of their own they express on the editorial page to being full-time propagandists for one set of views in everything they do. The Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin offers a perfect example with their recent collection of hit pieces on Crestwoood’s proposed propane (LPG) and gas storage facilities in Watkins Glen. Worse, they relied upon Tom Wilber, who is all but an anti-shale activist to do their reporting.

The whole wretched story of what the Binghamton Press did in this instance is told by Jim Willis over at Marcellus Drilling News, which is a must-read source for anyone seriously interested in natural gas issues (available for a very low subscription fee). He nicely lays out every aspect of the LPG attack by the Binghamton Press. There are a couple of additional points to be made though, some of which were brought to our attention by an alert reader of this blog.

Let’s start with the sources used by the Binghamton Press. Among them is Lou Damiani, the owner of a winery on the east side of Seneca Lake. For those who don’t know, that’s the opposite side of the lake from where Crestwood wants to LPG storage and has done gas storage for decades. Here’s what Tom Wilber doesn’t tell his reader; Lou Damiani, like most other Finger Lakes wineries, uses propane in his his business. Here’s his propane tank:

Binghamton Press

Does anyone suppose the use by Damiani of propane in his own business wasn’t a relevant fact? Isn’t it obvious Wilber should have at least asked Damiani about it? Asked him to explain why some wineries are opposed to propane storage when they use so much of the stuff and why some wineries have refused to get on the bandwagon? Is that kind of objectivity too much to ask?

Wilber also includes a picture of Yvonne Taylor in his report and quotes Joe Campbell as well, but Campbell and Taylor also equipped their new home on the east of Seneca Lake with propane, as this photo demonstrates:

Binghamton Press

Was that not also relevant to anyone wanting the full story?

It isn’t just the sources that are a problem with this collection of stories, though. There’s also this claim:

Salinity in the lake, which provides drinking water to more than 100,000 people, exceeds levels that are safe for people on sodium-restricted diets. The rise in salinity corresponds with the history of solution mining and gas storage on the southwest end of the lake.

This reminded one of our readers of something and he wrote to offer the following:

Mr. Wilber claims that the “chloride in Seneca Lake comes from the salt mines, however there is a little known existing 10,000 acre toxic waste site on the shores of Seneca Lake.
Information the EPA super fund site shows tons of clorides (salts) are still present at the site and tons have been taken into Seneca Lake by four creeks that empty into it. Please also notice in the EPA report that the state plans to use the land as recreation after they cover it with just nine inches of soil. New York State’s Health Commissioner, Mr. Zucker, didn’t want his non-existent children playing near a hydraulic fracturing site where the real activity takes place thousands of feet underground but seems just fine with letting our kids play on top of one of the largest toxic wastes sites, with just nine inches of soil as protection.

The Seneca lake site is Polluted with multiple “chlorides” which are made from salts.
It is polluted with thousands of tons of these chlorides both dumped onto the ground  and burnt in pits at the site over a long period, polluting a huge area of ground and water,
This site has  four creeks running from this Toxic Super Fund site  into Seneca lake and two into Cayuga Lake. “The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,2-Dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, and metals. Soils are contaminated with heavy metals, VOCs and SVOCs.
One listed pollutant present at the Seneca site is “Vinyl Chloride”  used in the manufacture of PVC. “The basic raw materials for PVC are derived from salt and oil. Chlorine is manufactured by the electrolysis of sodium chloride, salt. This is why the first PVC manufacturing plants were located close to natural sources of salt.”
Another listed pollutant present at the Seneca site is “trichloroethylene,” used in the manufacture of PVC and its use creates “Chloride”  as a byproduct. “The major use of 1,2-dichloroethane is in the production of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM, chloroethene) with hydrogen chloride as a byproduct. VCM is the precursor to polyvinyl chloride.”

Our readers also noted many other issues connected with this Superfund site, including the fact it may have been the nation’s largest holding site for nuclear weapons, and where radioactive material for the Manhattan project was stored (see this Wikipedia entry) but leaving that aside, can there be any excuse for Tom Wilber and the Binghamton Press raising the issue of salinity and trying to pin it on gas storage without mention this source of chlorides? Where is the balance? Where’s the attempt to get all the relevant facts?

That last question, of course, presumes Wilber is interested in any facts that don’t support his own view. That was ok when he was doing his own blog, of course, and it’s even ok on the editorial page where the idea is to challenge thinking and offer a point of view, but shouldn’t the Binghamton Press hold itself to a higher and more objective standard on its news pages? Aren’t its readers entitled to that? And, while we’re at it, aren’t they also entitled to know Gas Free Seneca and all those Ithacans (e.g., Sandra Steingraber) opposing this facility are financed by the Park and Sustainable Markets Foundations? Wishful thinking on my part, I guess.

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7 thoughts on “Binghamton Press Launches Crafty Campaign Against LPG

  1. This post parallels a poker hand where one of the players wants to win the pot by making believe they have something when in reality they do not.
    Oh, I love the picture of the greenies propane tank buried in what could pass as a landfill by itself. Right in their own yard!!! I am still attempting to clean up all the farmer trash sites eithin my wooded areas. Maybe I will finish before I die; but at least I will try. I see some of “THEM” are reading this post by their negative ‘dislike’. TELL YOUR GREEN BUDDIES TO CLEAN UP THEIR FILTHY YARD. I see they try to hide it behind a piece of fence that is junk also.

    On a last note Tom, who reads the Press? Thats like putting a landfill in your head.

    • HA! You should see the trash on the Fox property in Milanville. Great “environmentalist” that he is. What hypocrites!

  2. Pretty sure that you have written about Adelaide Gomer.

    The reporting is more than flawed. The reporters often are relying completely on activists for most of what they write and often the activists associated with this movement are completely unreliable sources. The activists aren’t just misinforming the public. They misinform each other as well.

    Any serious journalist who took a look at the movement whether it is with pipelines, FERC or the LPG project you are writing about could not help but see that the same names and organizations appear all over the place. And it is hard to see how those at state agencies could miss this as well.

    Here’s a tweet from Tom Wilber referring people to read something by chip northrup over at no fracking way.

    Tom Wilber ‏@wilberwrites Dec 22

    Worth reading: @northrup49, drilling-investor-turned-#fractivist, explains economics behind NY #fracking ban. — I notice that Bruce Ferguson had some comments to make on that post in December as did I. (Sweetgum Thursday).

    It is impossible to look at the “fractivist’s” misinformation campaign with port ambrose and this runs through a lot of the movement including it seems Mr Chip Northrup, Josh Fox and even Ms. Steingraber and not start to question where else they might seriously be completely full of crap.


    Via Catskiill Citizens for Safe Energy— let’s play the game of is this a picture of a “farmer” or an artist? Is that a real hearing on a real bill?|Text|&Search=Res++549 How many people provided false testimony at this hearing? You can read the transcripts or watch the video.|Text|&Search=Res++549

    Anyone who cares to look can follow a long trail on some of what the fracking movement’s activism consists of. And you don’t have to FOIA. The info is readily available in transcripts or is documented almost constantly as well in all kinds of places via social media. The trail shows groups misrepresenting not just their numbers but all kinds of things.

  4. I’m BACK! And to my delight I see the dislikes even on what I wrote, warm fuzzy feeling inside. Why? Because I LOVE the fact that THEY come to read and spy as if it will give them an inside scoop; but they never come out from beneath the rock they hide under. You never read anything posted from an opposing view. I guess to oppose something you would have to as the more articulate posters state, you would have to have some facts. These spy’s cannot even tie 2 words together, let alone A SENTENCE! I wonder whom they can be, Martens, Ryan ….. There are so many to choose from. I wonder if they can or would answer a yes or no question, “Do you find comfort and frendship amongst all the other slug’s or do they too leave when they encounter you under their rock?”

  5. Thank you for the reminders about the names that Tom Wilbur uses for “fact”[less] sources, and their two-faced posturing! (meaning Yvonne Taylor, Joseph Campbell and Lou Damiani)

  6. Just Friday in the Elmira Star-Gazette we had another instance of an “Ithaca Expert” deriding the “aging trestle” over the gorge, and making people think that: 1. It was still built of wood, and 2. It was rickety, and 3. It was subject to washing away during flooding.

    The facts are that: 1. It was rebuilt in STEEL in 1935; 2. It was designed to carry TWO tracks (and did formerly, but now has just one) — making it 2x as strong as necessary, and 3. The supports were moved to make place them out away from the Glen Creek, which was the defect with the 1875 trestle that washed-out in 1935.

    These folks pointing to the Gorge and trestle also neglect to mention that: 1. Visitors are only present in the gorge 25% of the time; 2. They are normally NEVER present when the train comes thru at about 8:30-9pm, and 3. Modeling indicates a propane spill would dissipate vertically and not get anywhere near Watkins Glen.

    The Park Foundation must be giving grant-rewards for “Creative Writing” now.

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