A Texas-based energy company has abandoned its plan to increase the amount of natural gas it stores underneath the largest of the Finger Lakes. David Chanatry with the New York Reporting Project at Utica College has more.
The energy company bought a salt mining operation on the shore of Seneca Lake, with the intention of substantially increasing the amount of natural gas stored in the hollowed out salt caverns. Arlington Storage, a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream wanted to turn the site into a fuel hub for the Northeast, filling the caverns with fracked gas from Pennsyvania and other states. But the plan ran into fierce resistance from environmental activists.
They feared leaks of gas or brine into the lake, the drinking source for a hundred thousand people. And they say the project would damage the regions’s growing wine and tourism-based economy. For more than four years protesters have been trying to stop –this- plan, and another to store liquid petroleum gas or LPG in adjacent caverns.
More than 600 people have been arrested blockading the entrance to the mine. FERC, The federal Energy Regulatory Commission, approved the plan three years ago, but in a filing this week, Arlington Storage said it had not been able to sign enough long term customers to make the project feasible. The company is still seeking DEC approval for its LPG storage facility.