SENECA LAKE, New York, USA - A project to store propane (and eventually natural gas) in salt caverns alongside and below Seneca Lake is making an ugly industrial mess on the shore of the lake, just a few miles north of Watkins Glen in the Town of Reading.
The project is actively opposed by thousands of area people and businesses. An application is currently under consideration by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.
While the application works it way through the system, however, Inergy (and its wholly owned subsidiary U.S. Salt) have been busy, carving up a huge swath of the Seneca Lake shoreline and creating an industrial mess that looks more like something from a Mad Max movie (Mad Max's World of Industry) than the sylvan shores people expect to see in the beautiful Finger Lakes.
The four aerial photos below show how far along the project is. The Inergy company has gone to great lengths claiming this is just business as usual, similar to earlier local efforts to store lesser amounts of propane in the salt caverns.
It is not. This is a huge expansion as the photos show.
And the Quantitative Risk Assessment done last fall - paid for by Inergy - is being kept under wraps by the company. Inquiring minds would like to know what that risk assessment says.
If the project is approved by the DEC and the Town of Reading, people of the area will have to worry about possible propane explosions, fires, heavy truck traffic, railroad tanker car accidents, brine pond spills into the lake, possible earthquakes and a host of other pollution problems still under study.
And the Inergy firm has made it clear in various SEC filings that if it all goes sideways (as in some of the scenarios listed) it might not have the resources to pay for the devastation, cleanup and the various legal claims that would be forthcoming.
Here's a link to Gas Free Seneca, the local group coordinating efforts to keep Inergy - a Kansas City, Missouri company - from being allowed to continue: Gas Free Seneca website
These photos of the site on the west side of Seneca Lake were all taken by Gas Free Seneca.