Appalachian Basin

A Lot of Hot Air in Watkins Glen

What happens when the Schuyler county legislature in New York holds a meeting to discuss county business? One would assume that local residents would be provided time to hear matters before the legislature and present any ideas or concerns they may have.  That likely would have been the case had Gas Free Seneca not shown up and disrupted this public meeting.  But they did show up, wearing their agenda on their sleeve and so the meeting was derailed.  In fact, the public comment period ended up having nothing to do with county matters and was a significant waste of time for residents who attended the meeting (more after the jump).

The meeting in Watkins Glen had many items on the agenda, including a tribute to Christopher J. Scott, a local hero who recently died while fighting for his country in Afghanistan. After the tribute there was much county business to be done with many items crowding the agenda.  So much so in fact, the legislature provided for three public comment periods to ensure residents would have the opportunity to discuss county business.  While the Inergy Midstream proposed LPG storage facility was not on the agenda the legislature expected they would hear a few comments about this project as well.

While a few individuals did speak about this facility, both for and against, almost all of the rest of the comment periods had to do with something Schuyler County, unfortunately, will probably never experience: the process of exploring for and producing natural gas in the Marcellus Shale using hydraulic fracturing.  The county will likely not see this production because in this section of the state the Marcellus Shale is located about 1500 feet below the Earth’s surface and by New York State law, that’s not deep enough to be developed.   In the following video Dennis Fagan attempts to explain this to the audience, probably in the hopes of heading off further comments, and wasted time, on a subject he is almost certain won’t impact the county.


And yet, despite the attempts by the legislature to explain the reality of these irrational and inaccurate fears, as you can see in the video below, almost all conversation centered around hydraulic fracturing, as a result of the proposed LPG storage facility that will house propane, not natural gas. So we have yet another example of a hyper-vigilant anti-development group trying to advance their anti-natural gas rhetoric at any cost in any venue.   This begs the question how much time and taxpayer resources have been wasted due to the action’s of this vocal minority.


Take a look at this video from Gas Free Seneca’s representative and winery owner, Joseph Campbell, when he gives his petition of “4000” signatures—which Bill found out at a previous meeting consists of a few hundred residents, with the rest were gathered from visitors  of the winery. In the second video, Mr. Campbell cannot tell Mr. Fagan if he has the latest version of the proposed project when citing the project and things take a turn from there.  Interesting that such a committed opponent has no idea about the particulars of the project he is advocating against.

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Luckily David Crea, EID Marcellus guest blogger and US Salt engineer, described the project that, as only an engineer working on it could.  It was evident from the beginning his knowledge was thorough and exceeded that of the winery owner.


So in a recap.  The meeting, which could have been over in a half an hour, lasted almost two hours due to unrelated comments on hydraulic fracturing and the Inergy propane storage facility which the Town will not have an additional opportunity to review.  A lot of hot air serving no purpose other than to waste County time and resources.

That being said, the proposed Inergy storage facility will effect this community in a big way by providing  jobs, higher tax revenues and a potential decrease in the cost of propane for the highest propane consuming county in New York.  To learn more feel free to come to the Inergy Panel Discussion and Information Session scheduled for Thursday, September 22 from 7-9p.m. at Watkins Glen High School.

If you are part of the Silent Majority that knows this project will safely improve the economy of the Finger Lakes alongside the wineries, be sure to come speak at the DEC hearing scheduled for September 27 at 6 p.m. also being held at the Watkins Glen High School.

To learn more about the project please visit our earlier posts as we have been covering the proposed LPG facility at Watkins Glen over the last couple of weeks. Bill provided a great post on the Big Splash of Irony event where protestors rallying against the propane storage project, were using it openly at their protest. We also had two excellent guest posts last week on the subject one from a geologist with 50 years experience in the salt industry and another from an engineer who works on the project.


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