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Hawkins Applauds Citizen Efforts to Stop Seneca Lake Gas Storage
"If elected, I pledge to immediately direct DEC to half this and all other fossil fuel infrastructure projects as a threat to public health and safety. The growing dangers from climate change require us to immediately begin transitioning to 100% clean energy. The era of fossil fuels need to be ended," said Hawkins.
Hawkins called for a ban on fracking when he first ran for Governor in 2010.
Houston-based Crestwood Midstream plans to store highly pressurized natural gas (methane) and liquefied petroleum gases (butane and propane, also known as LPG) in abandoned salt caverns on the west shore of the lake. despite documented instability of the salt caverns and concern over impacts to water quality and public safety. Salt cavern gas storage is part of a coordinated effort to build out massive infrastructure throughout the Northeast for fracked gas (methane)
Seneca Lake caverns are vulnerable to roof collapses that could allow pressurized gases to escape, as shown by the 400,000-ton roof collapse that has already occurred in a Seneca Lake salt cavern now slated by Crestwood for natural gas storage. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nevertheless approved Crestwood’s natural gas storage expansion plan in May 2014. Crestwood has also been allowed to keep much of the information about the storage secret.
On August 11, 2014, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) called a temporary halt to Crestwood's plans to stockpile LPG in the salt caverns by announcing a special Issues Conference to investigate ongoing health, safety, and environmental concerns of lakeside gas storage. However, one one day later, on August 12, Crestwood announced a plan to commence construction of a compressor station to pressurize natural gas for underground storage in salt caverns.
In 2012, the Cuomo administration rewrote a report on methane in groundwater commissioned from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to downplay the dangers of fracking and eliminated the topic of gas storage. The draft report had raised concerns about the dangers of gas storage.