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Local Government Supports Contentious Seneca Lake Gas Storage Project


For years, there have been opposition, protests and even arrests in an effort to keep a controversial project from moving forward.

The plan to build a new gas storage facility on Seneca Lake has been called dangerous by activists -- a hazard to the water, and to people's health, a mistake that's been made one too many times.

"One of the most famous, the most historic, the most important lakes in the world, has been repeatedly polluted," said Toxics Targeting President Walter Hang.

But this week, local officials gave the project a thumbs-up. The Schuyler County Council of Governments unanimously passed a resolution supporting Crestwood's propane storage facility.

"There is no evidence that this has had or will impact water quality issues," said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn.

The DEC has backed this claim, stating the project poses no significant threat to the water or public safety. It's an unconvincing argument for environmental groups, who say Crestwood has been polluting the water under the DEC's watch for years.

"DEC has a deplorable record of failing to prevent problems or to clean them up when they occur," said Hang.

It's hard not to fall in love with the lake, and that's why so many people advocate so passionately for its protection.

"I think this is a very emotional and sensational issue, and there's been a lot of emotion and fear-based efforts to influence decision makers, and that seems to be having an impact," said O'Hearn.

O'Hearn says the project will only serve to benefit the community. Other supporters say it will create jobs and provide affordable heating fuel for homes and businesses.

"Having it stored there, that location, will mean that there will be cheaper prices throughout the area and they'll be able to meet peak demands," said Darren Suarez of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

For now, both sides wait for the state to make the final decision.