Crestwood seeks 2-year extension for gas facility construction

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
The proposed gas storage facility in Reading has drawn repeated protests for years.

Arlington Storage Company has made a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking a two-year extension for construction of natural gas storage at the Crestwood facility near Seneca Lake in the Town of Reading in Schuyler County.

James F. Bowe Jr, counsel for Arlington Storage Company, sent a request to FERC Jan. 28 seeking the extension, saying the delay is because the company is waiting for permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“Arlington applied to obtain this storage permit in July 2010, and reneweed its request in August 2011. That request remains pending before NYSDEC. Arlington has elected to give the NYSDEC Storage Permit review process additional time to run its course before relying on the Gallery 2 Order to commence construction,” Bowe wrote.

In 2010, FERC authorized Arlington to acquire and operate the Seneca Lake Storage Project, to store natural gas in salt caverns.

According to the letter, in 2014, FERC authorized Arlington to expand the project by converting two interconnected salt caverns previously used for the storage of liquified petroleum gas storage to natural gas storage. The project also includes construction of underground pipelines to connect the caverns to a station, installation of a compressor, temporary debrining facilities and other components for the operation of the facility.

FERC granted a certificate on June 13, 2014 and authorized construction of the project, but FERC requires the project to be constructed and in service within two years of issuance of the order. That two year period ends on May 15.

Since Bowe’s letter was received by FERC, individuals and groups have been sending letters and comments to the agency, encouraging the denial of the request.

Those seeking a FERC denial include:

• Todd P Hobler of Buffalo, of the 1199 Service Employees International Union which represents health care workers around the state, including some in the Finger Lakes Region. He wrote, “We believe that the health and welfare of the communities in that region depend upon protecting the environment and the waters of Seneca Lake. Storing gas in underground caverns along the lake has risks that we believe out weigh any benefits from the project.The Federal Government should do all within its power to protect the nation’s fresh water resources. Seneca Lake provides drinking water to tens of thousands of New York residents. It is in this context that we request that FERC deny Arlington’s application for an extension of its permit.”

• The Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, who wrote, “Contrary to Arlington’s claim, it has not shown good cause for the Commission to grant the requested extension. While the company states that it awaits the issuance of a storage permit from the NYSDEC, the company admits that it has not renewed efforts to obtain that permit since 2011. Arlington has had ample opportunity to request the storage permit from NYSDEC and its failure to do so, particularly after obtaining authorization from the Commission, suggests that market conditions or other reasons have influenced Arlington’s decision to delay construction.” That group’s letter also points to the recent natural gas leak in California as a reminder of the dangers of natural gas storage.