Underground salt caverns on the shores of western New York’s Seneca Lake may soon be filled with massive liquid petroleum and gas storage infrastructure. Earthjustice and Gas Free Seneca, a coalition of local businesses and residents, are working to ensure that the environmental and community impacts of the projects are carefully reviewed by state and federal officials and advocating that the projects should not go forward when all impacts are considered.
Gas Free Seneca’s efforts have demonstrated widespread local opposition to the industry’s proposed projects, which would threaten the burgeoning local tourism economy and jeopardize the ecology at Seneca Lake, which is also a drinking water source for more than 100,000 people. The proposals were submitted by subsidiaries of Kansas City-based Inergy Midstream. One proposal involves the storage of 88 million gallons of liquid petroleum gas. The second is for additional natural gas storage, expanding capacity at the site to 2 billion cubic feet. Both proposals require approval by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) also must sanction the gas storage project in order for it to move forward. FERC requested additional information on the facility’s environmental impacts. Earthjustice and Gas Free Seneca have urged the DEC to prepare a full examination of the projects’ cumulative impacts, including on traffic, noise, air quality, and community character.