The two Democratic U.S. senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, recently asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to open a new public comment period for the Arlington Storage Co. proposal to expand its underground gas storage facility near Seneca Lake.
The location is the largest glacial lake of New York’s Finger Lakes region, a source of clean drinking water to over 100,000 residents in the area, and one of the most trafficked tourist destinations in the region.
Schumer and Gillibrand said in a March 28 news release that since the original two-year authorization given in 2014 is set to expire in May and new federal consideration of regulations for gas storage facilities are on the horizon, the community should have another opportunity to comment on the project prior to any decision by FERC regarding a proposed extension.
“When it comes to evaluating the impacts of this project – which would expand underground natural gas storage in Upstate NY – there is no need to rush,” Schumer said.
“The public deserves a second opportunity at an open dialogue to discuss the current situation of the Arlington project,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “There should be additional time to answer the community’s questions and concerns about the project and its environmental impacts. With the project’s authorization set to expire this May, a comment period would be essential to provide the public with the most updated information on the project and additional insight on environmental safety regulations.”
The Senators said approving the Arlington project extension before the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) determines whether improved safety standards for underground gas storage are necessary is unwise.
The senators outlined their concerns in a recent letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay.
In February 2013, Arlington Storage Co., a subsidiary of Crestwood Equity Partners LP filed an application with FERC under the Natural Gas Act and FERC regulations for authorization to expand its Seneca Lake Storage Project. The proposal involves conversion of two interconnected bedded salt caverns previously used for liquefied petroleum gas capacity, to natural gas storage.
The Seneca Lake Project is located in Schuyler County, New York, on property owned by Arlington and abutted by property owned by Arlington’s affiliate, U.S. Salt, LLC, a salt mining company. The Seneca Lake Project interconnects with Dominion Transmission, Inc. and Millennium Pipeline Co., LLC, interstate pipeline systems.