Will village oppose the gas project?
WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen village board discussed the possibility of formally opposing the proposed Crestwood gas storage facility in Reading. The discussion came after Joseph Campbell, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca, requested the board pass a resolution against the project due to the hazards it poses to the region. While the board took no action, the board agreed they would need more time to discuss it and gather public input from residents in the village.
Campbell told the board said there was much concern about the project from other municipalities around Seneca Lake. He said Yates, Seneca and Ontario Counties have already passed similar resolutions all expressing concerns with the salt cavern gas storage of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) by the lake. Campbell added there are other municipalities still considering a resolution, while nearly 100 business owners from the area have expressed their opposition as well.
Mayor Mark Swinnerton said he believes it will have some sort of positive impact upon the local economy but also a negative impact on local roads. He added the project will also not have a positive impact on the environment.
“I’m pro-development, but I’m also pro-environment,” Swinnerton said. “We have survived this long in our counties without this. [...] I think we can survive without them. It is my personal opinion it is not worth the risk.”
Trustee Scott Gibson said there are pros and cons to all types of industry. He said one industry cannot point the finger at another and call it environmentally devastating without looking at its own industry, adding vineyards contribute their own environmental problems. However, Gibson also added he is unsure of what benefits LPG storage would have to the area and he is on the fence about the issue.
“I come from the engineering world,” Gibson said. “I think we can engineer our way out of anything, and everything is full of risk.”
Trustees Anthony Fraboni and Kevin Smith both said they are on the fence about the issue and would be doing a disservice to their constituents if they did not get their input first. Trustee Paul Clifford said if they did pass a resolution opposing the storage facility, they would want to write their own resolution. The board agreed further discussion was needed before such a resolution could be adopted.