Rep. Reed’s (LPG) Gas Problems

Tuesday night I found myself in Watkins Glen High School at the Gas Free Seneca forum “Seneca In The Balance”.  The event was extremely well organized  and the speakers were top-notched. I was thoroughly impressed whole event. It seemed well attended.

The organizers had pre-forum activities involving over owners of more than 100 businesses that are currently opperating in the Seneca Lake Watershed. They included vineyardists, wineries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, motels, hotels and others. They feel that their businesses will be affected negatively if Seneca Lake becomes the natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage and transport hub of the Northeast. Gas Free Seneca had prepared a letter to Governor Cuomo pointing to his Economic Development Council Initiative and how the booming agri-tourism affects the Finger Lakes Economy. It mentions “Small businesses around the region need your continuing support to ensure that our shared vision is not jeopardized by the industrialized gas storage development proposed by Crestwood.” The businesses owners present were given the opportunity to sign the letter.

The Forum had speakers presenting the concerns about storing the (LPG) in the caverns under Seneca Lakes. There was a geologist, a water quality expert, attorneys, health care professionals, activists, and local elected officials. Their information collectively made a good  well-rounded argument for Governor Cuomo to deny permits for  the storage of natural gas and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the caverns under the lake.

There were two speakers who said things that resonated with me. Dr. John Halfman, of the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, pointed out that because of Seneca Lake’s length, width, and depth, it is the biggest of the Finger Lakes. It holds as much water as the other ten Finger Lakes combined. Dr. Halfman pointed out, “If you screw up this lake, you screw up half of our water.” The Town and Village of Geneva, and Village of Waterloo have their water treatment plants on the shores of Seneca Lake.

Another presenter, Steven Churchill, Seneca County Legislator, spoke about the government’s responsibility in protecting the area residents. He emphasized the responsibility of both the elected officials and the constituents. “It is our elected official’s job to represent, but it is our job to deliver the message.” This forum should help us to deliver the message.

Churchill also talked about Saefty Issues. He  pointed out that on January 1986, the Challenge Space Shuttle explosion, killing its crew members within 73 seconds after blasting off.  The reason was a flawed O-Ring. In April 1986, there was the Chernobyl Nuclear accident in the Ukraine occurred because of an operator error. In April 2010, the BP Horizon Oil Explosion occurred because of equipment failure. March 2011, the Fukushina Nuclear Reactor catastrophic failure was because of a volcano and tsunami. His point is simple…it is easy to say that the LPG Storage underneath Seneca Lake will be safe…it is easy to say, but we are human, humans make mistakes, and even minor mistakes can have create major problems.

Our congressman, Rep. Tom Reed, has been promoting the hydrofracking for natural gas since a lobbyist from the oil and gas industry knocked on his door.  According to the Open Secrets website  the Oil and gas industry donated $37,000 for Reed’s 2010 campaign, $110,000 for his 2012 campaign, and $72,000 (as of December 31, 2013) for this years campaign. That is more than $200,000.

Maybe their donations helped Reed to “ come to the conclusion that gas drilling is safe.” I wonder if he ever heard of the Challenger and BP Horizon Oil explosions, or the Chernobyl and Fukushina Nuclear Reactors failures.  No wonder his district director, Joe Sempolinski, reminded us that “Congressman Reed has a law degree; he is not a scientist.”

Reed began to change his fracking tune just a little while he was running against Nate Shinagawa in 2012. At the debate with Nate at Hobart-William Smith Colleges in Geneva, late October (nine days before the election) was the first time I heard Reed say that he would consider exempting the Finger Lakes Watershed from being “fracked”. He explained his thoughts in more detail at the Dryden Town Hall meeting. They could be summed up as Hydrofracturing is safe but he supports exempting the Finger Lakes Watershed aquifer because of its unique Tourist Industry.

Reed actually agrees with the business owners who attended the “Seneca In The Balance Forum” that the agri-tourism industry of the Finger Lakes region would be harmed by the high volume of truck traffic, drilling noise 24/7, unsightly gas drills lining the country side and other activities associated with fracking. That is why he would exempt the Finger Lakes Watershed from Fracking.  But that is where the conflict bubbles up– those are fracking activities. Reed does not see them as LPG Storage activities.

At a Hector Town Hall meeting in August 2011, The Observer-Review  reported that Rep. Reed said that he didn’t know enough about the (LPG storage and and Reading’s Transfer Station) project. He believes that the NYS Department of Environment Conservation should handle it.

On July 4, 2013, at Watkins Glen, Rep. Reed sent his  district director, Joe to meet with a group of 40 Gas Free Senecans. He reiterated Reed’s stance that the NYS DEC is the agency that reviews this project, and that approval of the facility is a state issue. Yvonne Taylor, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca said, “Reed says he’s opposed to heavy industry from fracking in the Finger Lakes.” and wants Reed to advocate against the LPG Project. Sempolinski repeated that Reed feels that this is a New York State issue.

Rep. Reed uses the 10th Amendment (State’s Rights) often when he doesn’t want to get involved. But State’s Rights seems to slip his mind when in promotes the repealing the New York State SAFE Act. State’s Rights must have slipped his mind when he recently voted for  H.R. 3946, the Sacramento-San Joanquin Valley emergency Water Delivery Act, which repeals existing water use laws in California. Shouldn’t that be a state’s decision?

John Campbell, the Seneca County Legislature, challenged us to deliver the message to our elected officials. Rep. Reed is our elected official. He wants no part of the LPG controversy. Reed received the lowest rating in in the New York delegation from the League of Conversation Voters. His only  pro-Conservation vote was awarding Hurrican Sandy funds.  If the message we send our representative won’t be heard, we should change representative.

Oh, did I mention that Martha Robertson was at the Seneca In The Balance forum?


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
This entry was posted in 2014, Constituents, Constitution, Economics, Environmental, Hydrofracking/Gas& Oil Industry, Protests, Reed's Views, Rights and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Rep. Reed’s (LPG) Gas Problems

  1. Deb Meeker says:

    That is exactly the tack Rep. Reed took at the Lansing Town Hall today. He said he is for “an all of the above approach” for energy, but that all the alternatives to natural gas (wind solar, bio-mass), are “not ready’ to actually serve the needs of NYS. The main topic today at the meeting was of course, the Cayuga Power Plant’s fate in terms of repowering with gas, or closing the plant entirely and upgrading the electric grid for the future. Reed was a very enthusiastic supporter for the natural gas repowering choice. Pat L. Pryor (D) District 6, Portion of the Town of Lansing, spoke on behalf of the upgrade position; explaining the taxes in Lansing would need to raised, if the plant were off the tax base. Another woman, who has been studying the entire situation, explained that the upgrading of the grid was much more sustainable (the plant would be viable for ten years after retro-fitting for gas), and that the improving and expanding the electric grid would be advancing, and supporting for many more years, at a much lower total cost, a much wider base of service. As usual, Reed decided it was best to agree to disagree.


  2. BOB McGILL says:

    Hey, guess what, the gas companies have no intention to frack in the Finger Lakes. They are more interested in areas with a higher volume of gas. That’s right , there is not enough gas in the Finger Lakes to make it economically feasible at the present time. So if anyone had really done their homework they would know this. By the way did Halfman tell you that Seneca Lake is in enough trouble because of sewage treatment plant discharges, urban runoff, and runoff from agriculture.
    At a board meeting in Seneca County Halfman said that Seneca Lake may become useless in the near future. We don’t have to worry about some gas company destroying your lake, you are doing it yourself.


  3. BOB McGILL says:

    TARGET AREA—–the gas companies have said all along they are targeting the shale deposits that are about 5,000 feet deep, the shale is much shallower than that in the FINGER LAKES BASIN. In fact the shale is laying on top of the ground in some areas. FRACK THAT ! 🙂


  4. BOB McGILL says:‎CachedSimilar
    There are 26 natural gas storage facilities and 3 LPG storage facilities in New
    York, concentrated in the central and western regions near both gas production …Natural Gas Storage
    •Natural gas injection/withdrawal and monitoring/observation wells: 957
    •Total storage capacity: 244.8 bcf
    •Utilization: 60.2 bcf injected, 63.7 bcf withdrawn
    •Maximum daily deliverability: 2.76 bcf
    •Working gas capacity: 128.8 bcf
    •Storage at year-end: 196.2 bcf
    •Storage capacity in use at year-end: 80%
    Eight different companies operate the 26 underground natural gas storage fields in New York State, with over half of the storage fields owned by
    Natural Gas Storage
    If the link don’t work TOOOOOOOOO BAAAAAAAAAD
    But you sholud check out the map showing the location of these facilities. 🙂


  5. BOB McGILL says:…/feds-increase-funding-to-upgrade-electric-grid-1. 7154303‎Cached
    Feb 20, 2014 … In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to give New York State unprecedented flexibility in determining which …


  6. BOB McGILL says:

    The projected costs of deploying digital controls and applications on the grid, averaging $17 billion to $24 billion a year, will fall most heavily on utility distribution systems that deliver power to retail customers, EPRI concluded. About 70 percent of the total investment in the higher-cost estimate would be required to upgrade substations, lines, poles, meters, billing and communication systems on the retail side to enable smart grid technologies and replace aging equipment, the study says

    ‘Ultimately … the consumer pays’

    Clark Gellings, an EPRI senior fellow and lead author of the new study, said that the division of investments among the distribution, transmission and costumer segments should not obscure the fundamental reality: “Ultimately, at some point, the consumer pays for everything.”


  7. BOB McGILL says:

    Another issue is that utilities and their regulators are accustomed to buying power equipment that lasts 40 years or more. The new digital equipment being installed on the grid may last as little as a decade or two before being replaced by better devices, EPRI said.


  8. BOB McGILL says:

    Cuomo Confidential: Secret N.Y. Dept. of Health Review of HF Concludes It is Safe
    5:05pm EDT January 3, 2013

    by John Krohn, Washington, D.C.
    Earlier this year the New York Department of Environmental Conservation indicated that public comments on the SGEIS precipitated a need for a review of public health concerns. It turns out DEC had the review completed all along and kept the information from the public. Begging the question, would the release of a report contradicting a loud and vocal minority of activists harm the administration’s reputation too much – or did they simply drop the ball and are now trying to cover their tracks?

    Over the past few months frustration has mounted in New York as the state struggles to finalize its natural gas regulations. What may have originally been an attempt at a pragmatic review has quickly devolved into political theater, with each day bringing new information to light on the actions – or, all too often, inactions – of state officials who seem content to let the issue drag on indefinitely.

    The latest example? A secret health review from Governor Cuomo’s hand picked Health Secretary which found that “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF operations.” The February 2012 report, which was never publicly released and only today uncovered by the press, noted that “the state’s proposed regulations would prevent any potential health risks from air emissions, water contamination, and radioactive materials unearthed during the drilling process.” The report added that “human chemical exposure during normal HVHF operations will be prevented or reduced below levels of significant health concern.”

    Wait, what? Weren’t we told that the health risks from hydraulic fracturing were “unknown,” thus necessitating yet another missed deadline for finalizing the state’s regulations so the state could complete a health review? Why did it take 11 months for this existing review to surface, and why did the state see fit to keep it hidden from the public view?

    The answer to that last question could have something to do with the findings in the review itself, which refute nearly every significant criticism levied by opponents working day and night to stop natural gas development in New York. If the state has already determined those charges to be bogus, then how could it also credibly call for yet another analysis based on the content of those same accusations?

    🙂 🙂 🙂


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