17 Dec

Letter to Gov. Cuomo: Don’t Allow Gas Storage on Seneca Lake

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The Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

December 17, 2015

Dear Governor Cuomo,

You have shown the rest of the country why it is not only possible — but smart — to say no to hydraulic fracturing and liquefied natural gas facilities, and we applaud your actions.   We know that it is also possible — in fact it’s imperative — to reject the further expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure such as the proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industrial storage facility and methane expansion facility in the heart of the Finger Lakes, an area with a vibrant future as a multi-billion dollar center of wine, grape production, and tourism. Wine-related tourism is a major economic driver for our entire state, accounting for more than 5 million tourist visits a year along the state’s 20 wine trails found from Lake Erie to Long Island.

We are business organizations with members across New York, and we are concerned that the realization of your ambitious economic development initiatives — especially those benefiting the Finger Lakes’ burgeoning wine and recently estimated $2.8 billion tourism sectors — will be compromised by the industrialization and potential contamination of its landscape and waterways.

We ask that you oppose Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners proposed storage facilities in the salt caverns at the southern end of Seneca Lake.

Crestwood hopes to create the largest hub in the Northeast for fracked gas transportation and LPG storage. This risky dream is antithetical to the reality of the Finger Lakes as a world-class wine region today. And it is antithetical to the opinion of hundreds of businesses, thousands of residents and 31 local governments that oppose the development of the storage facility. As business organizations that work to promote our local economies, we call on you to listen to those who know best what threatens their community character and livelihoods rather than those representing out-of-state business interests.   And we know that the locally-owned businesses, such as those threatened by the establishment of this fossil fuel hub at Seneca Lake, generate substantially more benefit to the local economy.

According to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, this project is estimated to create only 8-10 permanent full time jobs and approximately 50 short-term construction-related jobs, which may or may not go to local workers, if their proposal is approved. But, by increasing the possibility of gas and brine leaks, explosions and derailments, it puts at risk a growing regional economy that is already responsible for more than 15,000 full-time equivalent wine-related jobs.

For now, LPG is an important fuel for many businesses, farms and households in the state, and it is important that supplies and prices remain stable — but not at the expense of transitioning to a clean-energy economy or degrading clean water sources, which are becoming ever more precious in this era of unprecedented drought. We believe that with your leadership, our state can lead the transition to 100% renewables. Many of our businesses have already implemented conversions to renewable energy and minimized our energy use, and should be looked to as models for reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

New York State has made important investments in the success story that is the Finger Lakes Wine Region, and its incentives have put many of its businesses and residents on the fast track to a bright, sustainable future. In addition to the region’s renown as a tourist destination, its wines, fruits and grains grace restaurants, the state’s licensed Taste NY stores, wine stores, food cooperatives and farmers’ markets in New York City and throughout the state, and in Europe.

We thank you for your commitment to this path and urge you to put the needs of New York based businesses above out-of-state interests, and rigorously protect our local economies from the further expansion of infrastructure for finite, climate-changing fossil fuels.

Respectfully,

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