Last night, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a draft permit for the storage of 88 billion gallons of propane and butane (liquefied petroleum gases, LPG) in Seneca Lake's salt caverns.
This is not a surprise, but it is a travesty. It means that Houston-based Crestwood Midstream is now one step closer to realizing its sinister plan to turn our lake into a gas station for the fracking industry.
It means that Governor Cuomo is not protecting us. He's protecting the things that threaten us. He could have told the DEC to deny the permit—and so stand up for the wine and tourism industries that he professes to champion and cherish.
But he didn't.
If there is a silver lining in the black cloud of badness it is that the final approval of this draft permit is not automatic. It hinges on the results of an "issues conference," which is scheduled for February 12. An issues conference is a prelude to a full adjudicatory hearing. At the conference, an administrative law judge will consider arguments by opponents of the project and determine if our concerns warrant a full hearing.
The issues conference is the result of persistent, loud citizen opposition. And also good science. But science alone did not win us the issues conference. And science alone will not stop Crestwood.
So far, the We Are Seneca Lake campaign has focused on methane storage, and we will continue to do so. However, with last night's tragic but long-expected announcement, we now must resist gas storage of all kinds, including LPG, and recommit ourselves to our solemn responsibility to protect this lake—and our climate—for the sake of our children and future generations.
And, of course, it's all connected: while we are defending our own health, safety and access to clean drinking water, we are also defending the economic vitality of our region, which is based on the twin pillars of vineyards and tourists. Here in the Finger Lakes, we know that economic growth, good health, and an unspoiled environment all dance together.
Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of Seneca Lake.
There is nothing left to wait for. We need you to join us now, and we need you to invite your friends to join us.
Sign the Pledge.Your signature triggers an invitation to attend a non-violent civil disobedience training. We will contact you with details. . (There are two this week.)
You don't have to go to jail. You don't have to get arrested. But you do need to find the courage of your convictions, and, in return, you'll have the chance to tell your grandkids, "See that lake? I once worked with many brave people, and we helped to save it."
because blue is the color of faithfulness,
p.s. Here's a photo from last week's blockade. Martha Ferber is 90 years old. She was placed in handcuffs for defending water. I think she wants you to follow her.