Propane Storage Project Moves Forward Despite Protests

Propane Storage - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


The proposed propane storage project near Watkins Glen is finally moving forward despite the protests of trustfunder fractivists and others from outside the area.

Some positive movement (finally) for the proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or propane storage facility proposed by Crestwood Midstream for a depleted salt cavern along Seneca Lake, near Watkins Glen, NY. Inergy, which was subsequently sold to Crestwood, applied for a permit in 2009 to store LPG in the depleted salt caverns on Seneca Lake. It will also separately do natural gas storage on site.

Since then, the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), under a series of Democrat governors, has intentionally delayed issuing a permit for the propane storage facility. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave their blessing for the facility last month, and early last week the DEC finally issued draft permit conditions – the next step in the process.

Propane Storage Project Permit Process Moves Forward

Releasing the draft conditions is not a definitive sign or signal the DEC will ultimately approve a permit for the facility, but it’s a good sign, nonetheless. It propels the process forward and sets up an important meeting in February, something called an “issues conference” to be held by the DEC on February 12 at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads, New York.

Propane Storage

Here is a good overview of what will be built at the facility, and how it will operate, from the Elmira State Gazette:

Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC has proposed to construct and operate a new facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located west of Seneca Lake in the Schuyler County Town of Reading.

According to the DEC website, the caverns would store a maximum of 2.1 million barrels, or more than 88 million gallons, seasonally, displacing some of the brine currently filling them. The storage facility would use existing caverns in the Syracuse salt formation created by US Salt and its predecessors’ salt production operations.

During storage operations, the brine displaced by LPG would be stored and contained in two double-lined brine ponds. One pond, the East Pond, will be located on the east side of state Route 14. The pond is 2.25 acres with a capacity of more than 7 million gallons. The second pond, the West Pond, will be located approximately 1,500 feet west of the intersection of state Routes 14 and 14A and is 6.35 acres with a capacity of more than 33 million gallons.

The recent progress by FERC and DEC has stirred up fractivists who irrationally hate fossil fuels to continue and expand their protests against the facility. We told you last week that 10 fractivists, including a retired veteran, had been arrested for illegally blocking the entrance to the facility.

The Propane Storage Protests Nobody’s Noticed

One of those who is participating in the protests left a comment on that story to illuminate us to the fact this is an ongoing series of protests (now some four weeks old) and that multiple people have been arrested. As we noted in commenting back, we honestly didn’t know about the other arrests or that it had been going on for weeks, because the media has apparently grown tired of covering it and there have been no stories about it aside from a few local newspapers (which escaped our radar).

Propane Storage Protestors

Sandra Steingraber (in beret, 4th from left) and friends pretending to be “resident” protestors – she lives in a natural gas heated home in the next county, well out of the Seneca Lake watershed.

We did, though, notice an article written by an anti-driller about the ongoing protests, published yesterday, and thought we would share it with readers since mainstream media has abandoned our “friends” on the other side of this issue. We’ll throw them a little MDN love and attention since they appear to be starved for such attention – to the point that some 43 of them have now been arrested (with virtually nobody noticing it).

Interesting observation: The pro-terrorist fractivist news network Al-Jazeera America, happily quoted in the article below, bashes away at storing LPG in salt caverns. Al-Jazeera is owned by OPEC member country Qatar – a country that wants America to continue depending on Arab oil and gas. Small conflict of interest, eh?

Close to 50 climate activists have been arrested over several weeks as part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign in opposition to a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake in central New York.

Eight protesters were arrested on Tuesday morning for blockading the gates to Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s compressor station site; an additional 10 had been arrested Monday. There have been 43 arrests total since the ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ grassroots action began in late October.

Crestwood seeks to store methane and liquified natural gas in old underground salt caverns. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), gave the Crestwood Midstream expansion plans the go-ahead last month.

Local activists are concerned about the facility’s potential impact on agriculture, drinking water, tourism, and public health and see approval of Crestwood’s proposal as laying the groundwork for expansion of fracking infrastructure throughout the region. The caverns are located a few hundred miles from the booming natural gas fields of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and close to two gas pipeline routes.

Joining the protesters on Monday were participants in the Great March for Climate Action, a 3,000-mile walk from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. that took place between March and November. After spending a week in Washington D.C. blockading the entrances of FERC’s headquarters every day, some of the Marchers came to the Finger Lakes to help stop Crestwood’s FERC-approved expansion project…

According to reporting by Al-Jazeera America:

Underground oil and gas storage accidents are rare but can be catastrophic. Data on salt cavern storage is sparse, but one report commissioned by the British government in 2008 found that salt cavern facilities worldwide have collapsed or been breached 27 times since they began being used to store oil and gas in the 1940s. According to nonprofit investigative news outlet DC Bureau, salt caverns represent 7 percent of the U.S.’s approximately 400 underground gas storage sites. All eight deadly cavern disasters have occurred in the U.S., according to the British report. In those disasters, the contents of the caverns caught fire, causing explosions.

Nonlethal accidents have nonetheless created major headaches and environmental disasters. Perhaps the most infamous is the Bayou Corne sinkhole in rural Louisiana. There, a salt cavern collapsed in 2012, creating a 750-foot-deep hole that spans 30 acres and is filled with a toxic brew of oil, chemicals and water. It is still growing. Louisiana has urged the 350 residents of the area to move, and many are involved in a class-action suit against Texas Brine, the company that owned the caverns.

A rally is planned for Wednesday afternoon outside of the Town of Reading court, prior to the arraignment for 16 of the arrested protesters—including a retired Master Sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, a 76-year-old mother and grandmother, and author and biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber, who spent 10 days in jail last year for blocking the entrance to the facility. According to We Are Seneca Lake, a number of protesters plan to not pay their fines and expect to be incarcerated…

Editor’s Note: We’ve been following this along with Jim and readers will recall a series of articles by David Crea outlining who the propane storage opponents really are and what they’re really about. You can read them here, here, here and here, plus we did two investigative pieces of our own (here and here) on the hyper-hypocrisy of some of the local opponents, who happen to be big propane users. We’ve also exposed the roles of the Park and Sustainable Markets Foundations in perpetuating those protests (the former funds DC Bureau, for example, and the latter funds Gas Free Seneca), along with the background on one of the prominent protestors, a trustfunder type fractivist named John Cleveland Abbe, a Harvard trained attention-seeker pictured on the left below.

Propane Storage Protestors

The picture proudly notes the current protestors are from far outside the Watkins Glen area, illustrating the absurdity of the whole thing. There are local opponents but they’re a distinct minority and are now relying upon spoiled serial protestors from elsewhere to do the dirty work. Indeed, we are told by the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office that “out of the last 43 arrests only 3 were from Schuyler County. They are not our taxpayers.”

They are seemingly led, however, by the Heinz-funded self-centered Sandra Steingraber who, readers will remember, compared fracking to slavery at an event several months ago at Binghamton University and uses every event to play the martyr in an on-going display of self-aggrandizement. She lives in a natural gas heated home in Trumansburg, New York and is part of the Planet Ithaca crowd. 

Such is the nature of the fractivist movement, funded by elitists and carried out by serial attention-seekers with no obligation to reality. Reality, though, is tiring of them as the real-world consequences of their self-indulgence become more apparent to everyday people. Here, in fact, is what the Schuyler County Sheriff told WENY:

Sheriff Yessman said just last week 911 received a call that a person was having a heart attack. At the same time multiple deputies were at Crestwood dealing with protesters. “I had a patrol that was dispatched to the Crestwood facility that was in blocks of that heart attack. That deputy happened to be emergency medical technician and he had a defibrillator. In this incident, we’ll never know if it could have made a difference because the deputy was miles away having to deal with the protesters and unfortunately the victim didn’t make it,” says Yessman.

Unfortunately for Schuyler County, folks such as Sandra Steingraber and John Abbe really don’t give a damn about that victim, the cost to Schuyler County of all their activity, the fact the majority of locals disagree with them or anything like that. They’re only interested in whatever gets them another look in the mirror at the time.

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