Finger Lakes gas storage hearing under way

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Today marks the second day of a hearing on Crestwood's Holdings' controversial proposal to use dormant salt caverns along Seneca Lake to store 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gas.

The hearing, technically called an issues conference, is part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation's review of the proposal. The hearing, which is supervised by an administrative law judge, is meant to help the department identify facts and disputed issues that it should address during its review.

And there are some pretty substantial disputed issues around the Crestwood proposal. It faces significant opposition from neighboring communities that rely on Seneca Lake for drinking water and are concerned that the LPG storage operation could degrade the lake's water. And a group of winery and business owners also oppose the project; they're worried it'll damage the region's booming wine and tourism industries.

The communities have formed a coalition, and during yesterday's session its attorney argued that the review — and potentially an adjudicatory hearing — should focus on the project's possible impacts on community character and planning, as well as safety, according to an article in the Corning Leader. 

An attorney for the project, however, argued that broad considerations of community character aren't appropriate for an issues conference, which should be limited to specifics such as traffic, noise, and odor, according to an article in the Elmira Star-Gazette. (The hearing was held in Horseheads.)

Supporters and opponents of the project will continue arguing their positions today.


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