Seneca Lake 

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Seneca Lake"Located within Ontario, Yates, Seneca, and Schuyler counties, Seneca Lake lies in the geographic center of the Finger Lakes. At the northern tip of the lake is the City of Geneva, and at the southern tip is the Village of Watkins Glen. Seneca lake has the largest volume of water of the Finger Lakes." --NYS DEC

To find out more about the Finger Lakes in general, climate studies, water quality reports, and educational resources go to the Finger Lakes page.

Seneca Lake NewsLinks

It's important to monitor the health of our Finger Lakes, which is a part of our region's environmental health.

{11/06/2014 - Powerful statements on saving Seneca Lake made at “We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference” last evening. One of the many highlights was Sandra Steingraber reading an amazing statement by the gas company that said “Our business involved many hazards and risks some of which might not be fully covered by insurance.” We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference Published on Nov 5, 2014 Town of Reading Court, November 5, 2014. Lee McCaslin starts off with hoop drum and song. 1:48 Sandra Steingraber 7:33 Ret. Airforce Major Coleen Bolland 11:52 Jeannie and Patrick Judson [more on Seneca Lake in our area]}

2015

  • Seneca Lake gas storage foes rebuffed by regulators A proposal to store gas in salt mines near the shores of Seneca Lake received an emphatic blessing from federal regulators Wednesday who dismissed claims that it’s an accident waiting to happen. In an “Order Denying Rehearing” issued Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission notified Gas Free Seneca that the commission has done due diligence in granting a permit for the project, and it would not be revisiting the issue. The decision, while not unexpected, was a blow to opponents of expansion of the fossil fuel industry in the popular Finger Lakes tourism destination. (May 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Gas storage project: all the risks, none of the rewards The New York state Department of Environmental Conservation recently filed a brief as part of an issues conference proceeding to determine if permits should be granted to expand gas storage in crumbling salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake. The DEC said that the region has a long history of gas storage without major incident and that opponents have not produced adequate evidence to support their claims that the project should not be permitted. Seneca Lake is the source of drinking water for 100,000 people, including the cities of Geneva and Watkins Glen. Many studies have been done and information exists that says Seneca Lake is already the saltiest of the Finger Lakes, that a fault line runs right through the proposed storage caverns, and that the shale inter-bedded in those caverns have already produced a massive cavern collapse in the past. (May 18, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Exclusive: Anti-Fracking Filmmaker Josh Fox Arrested In Finger Lakes Protest The creator of the award-winning film ‘Gasland’ was just arrested at a protest in rural New York. Here’s the mini-documentary he made on the eve of his arrest. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Josh Fox, who wrote and directed the acclaimed fracking film Gasland, was arrested this afternoon while engaging in a human barricade at a natural-gas storage facility in the Finger Lakes. “People need to see what’s happening at Seneca Lake, and also understand that this isn’t isolated, it is happening everywhere,” Fox told The Daily Beast before the protest. “We need to educate people that our dependency on fossil fuels has got to change, and it has to change now.” Working through the night prior to his arrest, Fox put together a new short documentary, exclusively premiered below, on what he says are the facts behind the situation in Seneca Lake. (May 15, 2015) The Daily Beast [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • DEC staff defends Seneca gas storage A plan to build a storage and distribution hub for liquid propane gas in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country received a recent vote of confidence from state environmental regulators, prompting a new outcry from opponents. A final decision on the project by an administrative law judge is due at the end of June. In a brief filed last month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation defended its decision to grant Houston-based Crestwood Midstream a preliminary permit to store propane in salt caverns on the south end of Seneca Lake. The agency also argues against holding further legal hearings on the matter. (May 6, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Food lovers join Seneca Lake protest ranks; arrests tally 210 In an effort to protect the Finger Lakes’ waters and bounty from the risks posed by Crestwood Midstream’s proposed gas storage facility, local celebrity chef Emma Frisch hosted an outdoor potluck to accompany a civil disobedience action at the facility’s gates. Sixty farmers, chefs, wine makers, bartenders, restaurant owners and Finger Lakes food lovers attended a Protest Banquet and Blockade at Crestwood Midstream Gate in the continuing campaign against storing highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca Lake, despite documented instability of the salt caverns and concern over impacts to water quality and public safety. Protesters included Food Network star Frisch, Northstar Restaurant owner Lee Hamilton and renowned organic farmer Chaw Chang. At least 210 have been arrested since the civil disobedience campaign began. Other themed protests at the site included action to honor Pete Seeger; 13 risked arrest and successfully blockaded Crestwood all day. In January, on Martin Luther King Day, 20 were arrested in honor of the civil disobedience icon. (March 12, 2015) Sierra Atlantic [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Skaneateles joins movement against gas storage plan on Seneca Lake Gas Free Seneca announced Friday that the town of Skaneateles has become the 23rd municipality in the Finger Lakes region to formally oppose gas storage on Seneca Lake. Gas Free Seneca announced Friday that the town of Skaneateles has become the 23rd municipality in the Finger Lakes region to formally oppose gas storage on Seneca Lake. Skaneateles, in Onondaga County, joined others in passing resolution opposing the plan that includes Ontario and Yates counties, the town and city of Geneva and the city of Rochester. (April 20, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Reading court dismisses cases READING--In three hearings held Wednesday, March 18 in the town of Reading court, Judge Raymond Berry granted a motion to dismiss all charges "in the interests of justice" brought by 42 Seneca Lake protesters. All had been arrested as part of a sustained civil disobedience campaign at the gates of Crestwood Midstream. The campaign, "We Are Seneca Lake," opposes the expansion of gas storage in abandoned lakeside salt caverns owned by Crestwood. (March 24, 2015) Observer-Review.com [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Questions Over Portrayal Of Support For LPG Facility Near Seneca Lake Opponents of a liquid propane gas facility near Seneca Lake say that the company behind the project is misrepresenting its support. Crestwood Midstream from Texas wants to expand the facility to store propane gas in the underground salt caverns. Opponents argue it’s a risk to the water supply and the environment. (March 25, 2015) WXXI News [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Gas storage expansion plans have support, company says Crestwood Midstream Partners cite approval by more than 1,000 Schuyler County residents; others still passionately opposed Wednesday marks the second anniversary of the first protest against gas storage expansion plans at Seneca Lake, but some say there's another side to the controversy. Supporters of a proposal to add liquefied petroleum gas storage in existing caverns on the lake's western shore say gas has been stored in the caverns safely for many years. But opponents continue to see a threat to their safety, health, drinking water supply and the economic sustainability of the region's hospitality industry. (March 17, 2015) Star Gazette [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • New York State Exposed: Project under review could impact Finger Lakes wine industry Should fuel be stored in the Finger Lakes region if it could put one the state’s biggest industries in jeopardy? The Finger Lakes wine industry brings in millions of dollars and creates thousands of jobs in the region but those businesses say a project currently under review by the state could destroy what they've built. (February 23, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • WRITE ON: Gas storage roulette wheel lands on water — our water It seems no matter how many times you spin the roulette wheel over whether the state should allow the Crestwood Corporation of Texas to store 88 million gallons of liquid propane gas in unlined salt caverns on the shore of Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen, the wheel stops on “water.” Four years ago most of the initial citizen concerns about the proposal revolved around the potential of a fiery, on-site catastrophe. It was — and is — a logical fear given the abominably poor safety record of storing propane under great pressure in salt caverns. But as the Crestwood proposal has been dissected, a longer laundry list of concerns has been added to the disaster scenario: The dangers posed by increased rail and truck traffic, the effects of industrialization of a rural area, and the likelihood of damage to the fast-growing tourist industry economy. (February 13, 20150 Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Finger Lakes gas storage hearing under way Today marks the second day of a hearing on Crestwood's Holdings' controversial proposal to use dormant salt caverns along Seneca Lake to store 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gas. The hearing, technically called an issues conference, is part of the State Department of Environmental Conservation's review of the proposal. The hearing, which is supervised by an administrative law judge, is meant to help the department identify facts and disputed issues that it should address during its review. And there are some pretty substantial disputed issues around the Crestwood proposal. It faces significant opposition from neighboring communities that rely on Seneca Lake for drinking water and are concerned that the LPG storage operation could degrade the lake's water. And a group of winery and business owners also oppose the project; they're worried it'll damage the region's booming wine and tourism industries. (February 13, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Law judge hears case against gas storage on Seneca Lake More than 300 local businesses, 13 municipalities, members of organizations including Gas Free Seneca and other citizens argued Thursday against a proposed gas storage project on Seneca Lake.  More than 300 local businesses, 13 municipalities, members of organizations including Gas Free Seneca and other citizens argued Thursday against a proposed gas storage project on Seneca Lake. The oral arguments before a state Department of Environmental Conservation law judge held in Horseheads are part of a permit process the DEC is conducting for the controversial plan. Texas-based Crestwood Midstream wants to use old abandoned salt caverns along the lake to store millions of barrels of liquid petroleum gas and billions of cubic feet of natural gas. Those opposed to the plan over concerns with water quality, agriculture, tourism and the region’s rural character, include Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition. (February 13, 2015) Webster Post
  • Farmers, Chefs, Winemakers, Bartenders, & Restaurant Owners Protest Seneca Lake Gas Storage Watkins Glen, NY – Wearing coveralls, kitchen aprons, chef’s hats, and bee-keeper veils, luminaries in the Finger Lakes food and farming industry staged a protest banquet in the form of an al fresco feast at the gates of Crestwood on Route 14, two miles north of Watkins Glen. All together, more than 60 Finger Lakes food luminaries—and their supporters—rallied outside of the compressor station as part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign called “We Are Seneca Lake.” Setting up banquet tables along the snowy roadside, the protesters served a midday protest brunch that featured meatballs, frittatas, saurkraut, artisanal bread, popcorn, salads, cheeses, and desserts that were prepared from local, seasonal ingredients. During toasts and speeches, protesters said their intent was to raise awareness among local residents, media and legislators about the new threat that gas storage—and the massive industrialization that accompanies it—will pose to the culinary bounty of the Finger Lakes. By coming to the gates of natural gas compressor station with dishes to pass that represent the Finger Lakes region, their food business, their farm or their restaurant, protesters said that they are literally bringing to life the essence of their region and what is at stake here. (January 30, 2015) Wine Industry Network [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Pressure mounts to halt storage permit near Seneca Lake Newly-formed coalition is among those opposed to allowing natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake  As the state moves into what could be the final stage in permitting liquid propane gas storage in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, those against the plan are stepping up efforts to stop it. Next week the state Department of Environmental Conservation holds an “issues conference,” which determines if the DEC will pursue further investigation of citizens’ concerns on the proposal's environment effects. “This is the endgame,” said Doug Couchon, a key organizer of the “We Are Seneca Lake” group opposed to the plan. Couchon, who lives in Elmira, was a speaker at a rally Saturday in Geneva dubbed We Are Seneca Lake, Too.  (February 4, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Groups prepare for DEC meeting Feb. 12 FINGER LAKES--Four separate entities announced filings for party status and amicus briefs (friend of the court) as part of the Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Issues Conference on a proposed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage project Friday, Jan. 16. The groups wish to attend the issues conference, slated for Feb. 12 in Horseheads, to oppose the project. The four groups include the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA); a group representing 12 municipalities throughout the Finger Lakes Region; Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, consisting of more than 100 wineries and related businesses (FLXWBC) and Gas Free Seneca, a grassroots coalition residents and more than 260 local businesses. All parties are seeking denial of the DEC's permit to Texas-based Crestwood Midstream for its proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facility, citing economic, health and environmental reasons as to why no permit should be issued. Parties announced their petition to participate in an adjudicatory hearing, seeking full party status or filing an amicus brief.  The Observer Review & Express [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • CLEAR MESSAGE: About 300 descend on Geneva for a rally, march in support of Seneca Lake GENEVA — Laura Salamendra, one of the 160 people arrested during recent protests against Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility in Schuyler County, says she is neither a radical nor a troublemaker. Nor does she oppose the facility because of politics or a desire to court controversy, she says. Instead, she opposes Crestwood because she and her family drink Seneca Lake’s water. “Crestwood threatens our safety, and we must fight back,” Salamendra said Saturday afternoon before joining about 300 activists in a march through downtown. “Geneva and surrounding communities must rise up to ask, ‘Where is our vote?’ ” Backed by We Are Seneca Lake, the group that has been leading the protests at the Crestwood site, the march and the lakefront rally that preceded it were dubbed We Are Seneca Lake Too. Organizers cast Crestwood’s project as a regional issue rather than a local concern and said they wanted to get residents at the north end of Seneca Lake more involved in their efforts. (February 1, 2015) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • LP Gas opponents plan Geneva Rally for Jan. 31  A regional rally expected to draw more than 300 residents from around the Finger Lakes will be held Saturday, Jan. 31 beginning at 2 p.m. at Lakefront Park in Geneva. The rally is to show support for leaders around Seneca Lake and the region who have passed resolutions opposing a proposal by an out-of-state corporation to construct a liquid propane gas storage facility on the east shore of the lake, two miles north of Watkins Glen. The Crestwood Corporation of Houston, Texas is seeking state approval to store LPG in unlined salt caverns. The corporation’s application is pending with the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation and will be the subject of an issues conference before an administrative judge Feb. 12. Opponents believe storing LPG in the caverns will result in a catastrophe. (January 25, 2015) The Chronicle-Express [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Next battle over Finger Lakes gas storage facility: an issues conference The next fight in a long battle over storing liquefied petroleum gas along the western shore of Seneca Lake is an issues conference next month. Opponents to the facility are trying to get a seat at the table along with environmental officials and the gas company. Storing the liquefied gas, or LPG in an expansive network of empty salt caverns along the southwestern shore of this finger lake was first proposed five years ago. The company behind the plan, Crestwood, says there’s a need for more natural gas to heat homes in upstate New York. And it says the facility would be safe. (January 19, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • 20 Arrested at Crestwood Midstream Gate in MLK Day Blockade  20 Arrested at Crestwood Midstream Gate in MLK Day Blockade as Part of Continuing Civil Disobedience Campaign Against Seneca Lake Gas Storage; total arrests in 3-month campaign hit 200 Arrestees Include Former Tompkins County Legislator Pamela Mackesey, Who Marched with MLK in 1963 Action Follows on the Heels of Mothers/Grandmothers Blockade on Friday Watkins Glen, NY – Wearing blue T-shirts proclaiming “We Are Seneca Lake” over their coats and parkas, 20 protesters formed a human blockade on the driveways of both the main gate of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 and a smaller gate a quarter mile south. After a 3.5-hour blockade, during which they turned away two trucks, the protesters were arrested at 2:00 p.m. by Schuyler County deputies. All were charged with trespassing and released. All were ordered to appear in court on February 18. Forty other protesters rallied in support along the shoulder of the highway.  Four other protesters were originally part of the blockade but left the scene early or dispersed and were not arrested. (January 19, 2015) We Are Seneca Lake [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Rochester City Council backs opponents of Seneca Lake LPG facility Rochester City Council members have thrown their support behind the local governments and businesses opposed to a proposed liquefied petroleum gas storage facility along Seneca Lake. A subsidiary of Texas-based Crestwood Holdings, a fuel storage and transportation company, wants to store butane and propane in salt caverns owned by another of the company's subsidiaries, US Salt. The storage facility would be located on Routes 14 and 14A northwest of Watkins Glen, and would be used to store 88 million gallons of propane and butane. Crestwood needs a permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to move forward with the project. But the governments of more than a dozen counties, towns, cities, and villages along or near Seneca Lake have come out against the proposal. So have a slew of wineries and other businesses in that region. During a press conference this morning, representatives of some of the groups announced that they've filed to participate in an upcoming DEC issues conference. That proceeding is intended to help the department identify facts and disputed issues that it should address during its review of Crestwood's LPG storage application.  (January 16, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Finger Lakes Businesses Discuss Proposed Gas Facility FINGER LAKES, N.Y. -- A group of businesses within the Finger Lakes region came together Friday morning to discuss the issues surrounding the proposed construction of a gas facility in the heart of the Finger Lakes. More than 60 wineries and hundreds of businesses and organizations throughout the region will take part in the Department of Conservation's issues conference in February. They're asking the DEC to deny the permit for a Texas-based company to construct a liquified petroleum gas facility. The plans include turning depleted salt mines along the southern portion of Seneca Lake into major propane and butane storage and transport hub for the northeastern U.S. (January 17, 2015) Time Warner Cable News Rochester [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Three Degrees of Injustice : Press Release January 8, 2015 24 We Are Seneca Lake Protesters Arraigned on Wednesday; Public Left Outside in Bitterly Cold Temperatures; Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson Challenges Locked Courthouse, Serves as Court Observer; Inside the Court, Justice Berry Informs Defendants that Some Will Receive Change of Venue, as Arrests Mount in Ongoing Civil Disobedience Campaign Watkins Glen, NY – The outside temperature was three degrees Fahrenheit—with wind chills of minus 10 degrees—when 24 defendants, their families and supporters, members of the interested public, and members of the press arrived for arraignments in the Town of Reading courthouse last night. Among the crowd was Tompkins County legislator and 2014 Congressional candidate, Martha Robertson of Dryden, who came to serve as a court observer. The defendants all faced charges of trespassing—and, in one case, resisting arrest—as part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign called We Are Seneca Lake against a Houston-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream, which seeks to bury highly pressurized gases—methane, butane, propane—in abandoned salt caverns along the banks of Seneca Lake. So far, 170 arrests have been made. (January 8, 2015) We are Seneca Lake [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Finger Lakes' fuel, tourism industries clash Residents of the Finger Lakes are fiercely protective of the region's land and waters. As a result, the area is known for open roads and farmland; thick forests and sprawling vineyards; fresh air and, of course, gleaming freshwater. Residents know full well that the 11 Finger Lakes are an asset that few places in the country — and possibly the world — can match. And after state government and tourism officials caught on, they began marketing the region as a world-class destination; a relaxing, romantic getaway with all of the outdoor recreation and fine wine a visitor could handle. But along Seneca Lake — the largest of the Finger Lakes — residents and community leaders say that hard-won reputation is at risk because of two proposed underground fuel storage projects. They worry that the facilities will detract from the scenery, generate road-clogging truck traffic, and pose a threat to Seneca Lake's water. "There's this vision that we can build this world-class tourist destination," says Joseph Campbell, co-founder of the activist group Gas Free Seneca. "We've already been called the No. 1 wine destination in the world. And that vision is incompatible with this industrial gas storage." (January 7, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

[Folks gathering for the rally at the north end of Seneca Lake: CLEAR MESSAGE: About 300 descend on Geneva for a rally, march in support of Seneca Lake on January 31, 2015]

2014

  • A Report From the Frontlines in the War Against Fracking A mixture of emotions is running through the Finger Lakes region of New York in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Wednesday, December 17 to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the state. Residents are relieved to be protected from the health risks and environmental damage produced from fracking. Nevertheless, they are continuing their struggle to oppose the Texas-based Crestwood corporation’s project to store volatile gases extracted from other states, such as Pennsylvania, in salt caverns along the shores of Seneca Lake, which provides drinking water for approximately 100,000 people. Crestwood is seeking to make the Seneca Lake location a hub in its broader infrastructure that supports fracking. Since October of this year, wave after wave of residents comprising the group We Are Seneca Lake (WASL) have practiced non-violent civil disobedience at the gates of the Crestwood facility protesting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision permitting the storage of methane in the salt mines. A proposal to store liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is currently before the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The momentum of the uprising has only grown since then. During the week of November 17-21 there were 48 arrests as activists blocked the gates every day. Among those arrested were local residents, business owners, farmers, and wine makers (Seneca Lake is in the center of New York’s agricultural region and its wine country). (December 26-28, 2014) Counterpunch [more on Seneca Lake and Fracking in our area]
  • WRITE ON: NY’s fracking wars continue The New York decision to ban hydrofracking was a clear victory for the thousands of people that worked hard to convince state authorities this natural gas extraction technology is too dangerous to use. But this one victory is just that — one single victory. Keeping a hydrofracking ban inNew York will be a long, protracted struggle. Opponents are battling an international juggernaut of well-heeled corporations that know mostly how to drill, extract and count profits. But even as celebratory champagne corks popped, hydrofracking proponents were planning a multi-pronged counteroffensive. (December 26, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Fracking in our area]
  • 40 Seneca gas protesters arrested Reading About 40 activists who oppose the expansion of gas storage on the shore of Seneca Lake were arrested Tuesday, according to organizers. The group has been blocking the gates to the Crestwood gas storage facility since Oct. 23. The group said most of those arrested Tuesday were teachers. It’s unclear what happened to those arrested — in previous protests, some of those arrested have opted to go to jail. (December 16, 2014) The Chronicle-Express [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Connections: The Debate on Liquid Propane Gas Storage in FLX More than 100 people have been arrested since October at the sight of a proposed expansion of liquid propane gas storage (LPG) near Seneca Lake. Many of the recent arrests are prominent business owners. The owners of a new high-wattage wine project -- one from California, one from Germany -- now say that if they had known this LPG project was going forward, they probably would have skipped coming to the Finger Lakes. So why has it gotten so heated? What's the latest development? We've invited Crestwood Energy to join us. So far, no response, but they've given statements to other media outlets. We've also reached out to state lawmakers. Our guest for this topic are: Will Ouweleen, owner of O-Neh-Da Vineyards Joseph Campbell, Gas Free Seneca Phil Davis and Lou Damiani, co-owners of Damiani Wine Cellars (December 15, 2014) WXXI Connections [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]
  • 17 Arrested Fighting Fracking Infrastructure Protests continued today at the Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility where 10 Schuyler County residents were arrested for trespassing. Today’s protest is part of a sustained, ongoing, non-violent civil disobedience campaign against the storage of fracked gas along the shores of Seneca Lake, a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. There have been 83 arrests so far during the “We Are Seneca Lake” civil disobedience campaign, now entering its sixth week. Today’s action “is an attempt to dispel the myth that this movement is an ‘outside’ movement, filled with ‘professional protesters.’ However, we welcome all comers, as we must when dealing with a watershed for over 100,000 people and air that we all breathe,” said Phil Davis and Scott Signori, business owners in Schuyler County who were arrested today. “It will take people from all over to protect the environment and to stand up to Crestwood, the true outsider in this threat.” (December 1, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking and Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Anti-Fracking Warriors Steingraber and Boland Released From Jail [Editor’s note: On Nov. 26 at 12:01 a.m., Sandra Steingraber and Colleen Boland were released from jail after serving eight days of a 15-day sentence for trespassing at the gates of Crestwood Midstream on the banks of Seneca Lake. They were immediately greeted by a crowd of supporters outside the Schuyler County Jail in Watkins Glen. Below are transcripts of their speeches.  Steingraber and Boland are among the first wave arrests as part of a sustained, ongoing, non-violent civil disobedience campaign against the storage of fracked gas along the shores of Seneca Lake, a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. There have been 73 arrests so far. Calling themselves “We Are Seneca Lake,” those risking arrest—and their supporters—wear blue during blockades. Donations to the jail fund are greatly appreciated and make a perfect holiday gift.] (November 26, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Seneca Lake and Fracking in our area]
  • Crestwood arrest total now up to 73 READING — There have now been 73 people arrested for trespassing in connection with the four-week-old protest at Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility. On Friday, 12 people were arrested, including Mariah Plumlee of Covert. On Thursday, nine were arrested. Margie Rogers of Elmira was arrested Thursday for a second time. She was previously among the “Seneca Lake 12” who were arrested in March 2013 for blocking Crestwood’s gate. She returned and was arrested as part of the current “We Are Seneca Lake” movement (November 23, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • The Crappy Mom Manifesto: Letter to Fellow Mothers from the Chemung County Jail Last month extreme fossil fuel extraction and I were both recipients of an accusatory outburst by my 13-year-old. “I hate fracking!” he said, half yelling, half sobbing. “Fracking turns you into a crappy mom!” And he is right. Because of my ongoing efforts to halt both fracking and fracking’s metastasizing infrastructure from invading New York State, I have not chaperoned a school trip in three years. I missed Elijah’s opening-night star turn in Romeo and Juliet. I did not attend the high school girls’ cross country state championship, in which his sister competed. In fact, I missed all the races of the whole season, and, as such, am the only parent of a varsity runner who can make that claim. I know that because my 16-year-old periodically reminds me of my exceptionalism on this front. (November 24, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Seneca Lake and Water Quality in our area]
  • Steingraber, Boland and Micklem Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail for Protesting Methane Gas Storage Renowned author, biologist and advocate Sandra Steingraber, PhD, U.S. Air Force veteran Colleen Boland (retired) and avid environmentalist Roland Micklem headed to the Chemung County jail Wednesday evening after pleading guilty and refusing to pay a fine in New York’s Reading Town Court. Judge Raymond Barry issued the maximum jail sentence of 15 days. Steingraber, Boland and Micklem were arrested for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. They are part of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign working to stop the major expansion project at Crestwood’s methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Micklem, who will not have to serve his full sentence, was released yesterday afternoon for health reasons. “I’m a die-hard environmentalist and I think that if we do not protect our environment, we are all history. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do,” said the 86-year-old. (November 21, 2014) EcoWatch  [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Opposition builds to gas storage facility on Seneca Lake shore As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. As protests continue over construction of a gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake, people across the entire Finger Lakes region opposed to the project are getting involved. “The Finger Lakes is all of us,” said Rosemary Hooper, a Naples resident who has joined others from Ontario County in participating in the campaign to stop the building of the gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake in Schuyler County. Texas-based Crestwood Midstream's proposal is to use old abandoned salt caverns along the lake to store millions of barrels of liquid petroleum gas and billions of cubic feet of natural gas. Those opposed include organizations, individuals, businesses and municipalities. The Ontario County Board of Supervisors, Yates County Legislature, Seneca County Board of Supervisors and Geneva City Council are among those that have passed motions opposing the proposed storage facility. (November 19, 2014) Gates-Chili Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Gas storage project on Seneca Lake moving onto next phase The DEC’s “draft permit conditions”, released on Monday, propose rules that would have to be followed if the state issues a permit to Finger Lakes LPG Storage. Finger Lakes LPG, which is owned by Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners, wants to store up to 2.1 million barrels of butane and propane in old salt caverns on the western shore of Seneca Lake, in the Town of Reading. That’s what the draft permit conditions issued by the DEC are about. The “issues conference” is part of the DEC’s permitting process. It comes after public hearings, but before a judge would decide on major points of dispute. And, in this case, there have been some points of dispute. Joseph Campbell is co-founder of Gas Free Seneca, a group of local winemakers and business owners and concerned neighbors, who by the way, have enlisted lawyers from Earthjustice. (November 13, 2014) Innovation Trail  [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • DEC Extends Deadline to File Petitions for Party Status for Issues Conference on Crestwood LPG Storage Facility in Schuyler County Petitions Must Be Submitted to DEC by 5 p.m., Jan. 16, 2015 The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today extended the deadline to file Petitions for Party Status to participate in the issues conference for the Finger Lakes LPG Storage, LLC's proposed liquid propane gas (LPG) storage facility. Petitions must be submitted to DEC by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Finger Lakes LPG Storage, LLC, a subsidiary of Crestwood Midstream Partners, LP, has proposed to construct and operate a new underground LPG storage facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located west of Seneca Lake in the Town of Reading, Schuyler County. The issues conference will be held Thursday, Feb. 12 at 10 a.m., and if necessary Friday, Feb. 13 at the Horseheads Holiday Inn, 2666 Corning Road, Horseheads. The purpose of the issues conference is to determine if there are any significant and substantive issues that require an adjudicatory hearing. Participation in the issues conference involves DEC staff, the applicant and any individual or group that has filed a Petition for Party Status. (November 19, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • 10 Arrested as ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ Protests Continue Ten people were arrested today for blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake. This protest marks the fourth week of the “We Are Seneca Lake” campaign to stop the major expansion project at the methane gas storage facility where plans are underway to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. Thirty-five people have been arrested so far during this campaign, including Dwain Wilder who just finished serving eight days in jail after refusing to pay his fine. Today’s protest included a number of participants of the Great March for Climate Action who recently finished a 3,000-mile walk from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. The marchers arrived in DC on Nov. 1 and then spent a week blockading the entrances of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—the federal agency that approved the Crestwood expansion project—where more than 100 people were arrested during the Beyond Extreme Energy protests. (November 17, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Upstate New Yorkers fear gas caves could blow wine, tourism industries Activists fight expansion of energy storage facility they say poses safety, environmental and economic threat In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. In Watkins Glenn — an idyllic part of upstate New York best known for its Finger Lakes, fall foliage and wine — activists worry it could soon be known for something less appealing: industrial disaster. Protesters in the area are engaging in civil disobedience to stop the expansion of a gas storage facility that stores fracked gas from Pennsylvania in old mined-out salt caves, claiming it presents a safety risk to local residents, an environmental danger to the Finger Lakes region and an economic threat to the area’s wine and tourism industries. “We do not want the crown jewel of the Finger Lakes and the font of the wine industry turned into a massive gas station for the fracking industry,” said Sandra Steingraber, a prominent anti-hydraulic-fracturing activist and environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who was one of about a dozen protesters who have been arrested several times during continued protests, most recently on Nov. 3, for blocking the entrance to the storage facility. (November 16, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Airman-turned-activist arrested for 'civil disobedience' Retired Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Collen Boland will mark Veteran's Day with a vigil outside Schuyler County Jail in New York tonight. That's where a fellow veteran is serving a 15-day sentence for refusing to pay a fine for trespassing — and where she too may end up following a court appearance scheduled for next week. Boland and Dwain Wilder, a former sailor, were among 10 protesters arrested Oct. 27 for blocking the entrance of an energy company that four days earlier got the green light to expand an existing natural gas storage facility near the largest of New York's pristine Finger Lakes. (November 12, 2014) AirForceTimes [more on Seneca Lake and Energy in our area]
  • DEC issues conditions for Seneca Lake LPG storage The state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued draft permit conditions for the Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC's proposed liquid propane gas storage facility that would use existing underground salt caverns. The release of the draft permit conditions is not an indication that DEC will approve the permit, according to the DEC. It is the next step leading to an issues conference Feb. 12 at the Holiday Inn Express in Horseheads. Finger Lakes LPG Storage LLC has proposed to construct and operate a new facility for the storage and distribution of propane and butane on a portion of a 576-acre site located west of Seneca Lake in the Schuyler County Town of Reading. (November 11, 2014) StarGazette [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • NYS moves ahead on Finger Lakes gas storage plan The state Department of Environmental Conservations has issued draft permit conditions for a long-planned and increasingly controversial underground natural gas and propane storage facility in the Finger Lakes region near Watkins Glen. The site has been the site of civil disobedience by protests during the last several weeks, leading to mass arrests. DEC was careful to say in its press release _ issued late Monday after regular business hours _ that draft conditions “in no way indicate that the project will ultimately be approved.” A planned meeting in February by DEC called an “issues conference” could  “result in a determination that denial of the permit is warranted, or that additional conditions may be necessary,” according to the DEC press release. (November 11, 2014) Times Union [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Demonstrators Arrested at Salt Cavern Site Near Seneca Lake Ten members of a local environmental group were charged with trespassing Wednesday for demonstrating near a proposed liquefied petroleum storage site in Schuyler County. Members of the group We Are Seneca Lake were demonstrating in opposition to a Texas company's plan to store liquefied petroleum gas near Seneca Lake. Schuyler County Sheriff's Deputies charged seven with disorderly conduct and trespassing because group members blockaded an Amex Chemical truck at the north gate. Three were arrested at the southern gate and charged with trespassing, according to the group. The ten have since been released. The group's court date is Wednesday, Nov. 5. (November 5, 2015) Ithaca.com [more on Seneca Lake]
  • We Are Seneca Lake Pre-Arraignment Press Conference Published on Nov 5, 2014 Town of Reading Court, November 5, 2014. Lee McCaslin starts off with hoop drum and song. 1:48 Sandra Steingraber 7:33 Ret. Airforce Major Coleen Bolland 11:52 Jeannie and Patrick Judson [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • More protesters arrested at Crestwood READING — Fifteen more protesters were arrested Monday morning outside of Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility on the west side of Seneca Lake. The protesters gathered at 7 a.m. and blocked the gates of the Schuyler County facility. At 9 a.m., 15 of them were charged with trespass after Crestwood officials called police. (November 4, 2014) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Protesters blockade Crestwood gates; no one arrested Threatening to “put their bodies on the line” in a human blockade and risk arrest, dozens of opponents of Crestwood's gas storage facility plans on Seneca Lake protested again Friday outside the gates of the company's property.  Threatening to “put their bodies on the line” in a human blockade and risk arrest, dozens of opponents of Crestwood’s gas storage facility plans on Seneca Lake protested again Friday outside the gates of the company’s property. They were blocking the gates because Friday marked the first day Crestwood was cleared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin construction on an expansion of its natural gas storage facility alongside State Route 14 just north of Watkins Glen. However, a Crestwood representative said the company wasn’t actually planning to begin work Friday, and wasn’t sure when the project would start, so the protesters weren’t really interfering with anything. (October 24, 2014) The Leader [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Seneca Lake protesters: Salt cavern gas storage could contaminate lake, drinking water Watkins Glen, N.Y. -- About 150 people today protested a plan to store compressed gas in empty salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca Lake. "Why take the most dangerous storage technology known, requiring millions of gallons of salt brine storage, and put it next to one of America's most beautiful lakes?" asked former Schuyler County legislator Bob Fitzsimmons at the rally just outside the gates of Crestwood Corp.'s Seneca Lake Compressor Station. "You do not use this dangerous technology to store gas in the midst of a thriving tourist economy. It's a bad idea -- a real bad idea." Thirty of the protestors, wearing red arm bands, were prepared to block the gates and be arrested by police. No one was today, although protesters for Gas Free Seneca said they will be back next week if Crestwood attempts to begin construction of the compressor needed for the gas storage. (October 24, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Seneca Lake in our area]
  • Seneca Lake algae testing will be done Potentially toxic blue-green algae may have bloomed in Seneca Lake last year. Then again, maybe it didn't. There was a certain amount of confusion on that point at the largest Finger Lake last year, partly because no one was sampling to see if it really was algae that folks kept seeing. That should be a thing of the past. The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association announced Tuesday that the group and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have arranged to begin regular observation, sampling and analysis of Seneca water for the presence of algal toxin. "We welcome this initiative from DEC to create an organized and effective program to monitor this threat to public health and safety. Last year we had a number of questions from residents and no way to respond to their concerns," said Edwin Przybylowicz, who will coordinate the sampling for the lake association. As the Democrat and Chronicle reported last summer, the five largest Finger Lakes -- Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua and Skaneateles -- had been left out of the extensive toxin sampling that's been done in recent years by the state. Mainly this was because the lake associations there either didn't know about the state algal-toxin testing or chose not to get involved. (July 8, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Finger Lakes and Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

 

[Lots of geese on the north end of Seneca Lake on a cold January day.]

2013

  • Watchdog follow-up: Largest Finger Lakes don't get toxin testing Parts of the Seneca Lake shoreline were draped at times this summer with the oddly colored water and white froth that often signal the presence of blue-green algae blooms. The blooms, which can be accompanied by potentially dangerous toxin, provoked a flood of complaints to the lake association. But Seneca Lake’s waters were never tested for algal toxin. Seneca, the largest of the 11 Finger Lakes, was never included on New York’s warning list of water bodies suffering blooms because environmental officials tried twice but weren’t able to verify that blooms had even occurred. Members of the lake association were left confused. “We issued an alert to our members and … asked them to report to the DEC. I haven’t heard anything back from anybody,” said Mary Ann Kowalski, president of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association. (September 23, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

2011

  • Public defends "pristine, beautiful" Seneca Lake at gas hearing | Innovation Trail Bill Moler, the president of the Inergy subsidiary that aims to store 2.1 million gallons of propane in salt caverns next to Seneca Lake, faced a tough crowd on Tuesday night. He attended a Department of Conservation-organized public hearing in Watkins Glen, and was tasked with trying to persuade the crowd that the project would go largely unnoticed - and would yield lower propane prices in the region. But that wasn't a convincing argument to those who came to voice their opposition. Hundreds of local residents turned out, and many expressed fears the project would industrialize a region that depends on tourism. (September 28, 2011) Innovation Trail [More on Seneca Lake in our area]

2009

2008

2003

  • Committee to discuss lake overgrowth Frank All, an Arcadia resident with a summer home on Kashong Point, presented the petition bearing 203 signatures of lakefront property owners to the board last night. The petition requests town officials seek federal or state money to purchase an aquatic weed harvester that would be used to remove the vegetation on the western side of Seneca Lake, from the Geneva city line south to the Yates County line.  (January 10, 2003) Finger Lakes Times Geneva, NY

2002

  •  Lake weed out of control GENEVA - Imagine a creature that invades your home and makes a nest. It replicates faster than you can kill it, spawning thousands of times over. Pretty soon it is consuming your food supply, and crowding you out of your own home. You can barely move without its clinging to you. And it is ugly and smelly to boot.The plot of the latest Halloween horror movie? No: the weeds growing in Seneca Lake.  (November 01, 02) Finger Lakes Times
  • Students studying Seneca Lake A trio is continuing eight years of research on the nutrient levels and impact of zebra mussels in the lake. (July 16, 2002) Daily Messenger
  • Input sought on housing for lakefront GENEVA - A city committee wants more information and community input before taking a stand on lakefront housing. Mayor Donald Cass asked the committee for its input after he had City Manager Richard Rising mark off the roughly 20 acres that would be available for development between the city's Lake Shore Park and Seneca Lake State Park.(April 24, 2002) Finger Lakes Times

2001

  • In-depth studies on Seneca Lake  Nearly 40 teens from across the country are participating in this year's Environmental Studies Summer Youth Institute at Hobart and William Smith. The students, entering their junior and senior years of high school, are living on campus for a two-week interdisciplinary exploration into the environment. (Wednesday, July 18, 2001) Finger Lakes Times

2000

 

Resources for Seneca Lake

If you live near Seneca Lake perhaps one of these resources can be a way for you to become involved with your lake's health. 

  • Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association -dedicated  to "enhancing and preserving the quality of Seneca Lake"  Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is moving forward! In 2009, after a two-year hiatus during which the activities of the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA) essentially ceased its activities, a new group reorganized SLPWA under new leadership.   We are indebted to Richard Ahola, Mary Anne Kowalski and Phil Cianciotto who agreed to serve as interim officiers in the reconstituted organization as well as to Professor John Halfman who was custodian of the organization’s records and encouraged the re-formation of this organization.  By August, 2012, the association had over 430 members and SLPWA had indeed been reborn with a group of active and interested members who were willing to continue the development of the organization and its mission of stewardship for Seneca Lake and its watershed.  
  • We Are Seneca lake "Protecting Finger Lakes Communities from Crestwood's Gas Storage Facility"
  • Gas Free Seneca "Gas Free Seneca was formed in early 2011 in response to Inergy, LP’s plan (now Crestwood) to “build an integrated gas storage and transportation hub in the Northeast,” according to its press announcement, at the U.S. Salt plant just North of Watkins Glen, NY. Gas Free Seneca started out as a small group of concerned citizens trying to spread the word about the proposed LPG storage facility. "
  • LPG & NATURAL GAS STORAGE IN SENECA LAKE SALT MINES  NEAR WATKINS GLEN a full characterization of this issue from Rochester's R-Cause "R-CAUSE was created by Rochester citizens who treasure New York State and  want its waters, land and air to remain clean and its communities to remain viable.   R-CAUSE's goal is to inform as many people in the Rochester area as possible  about the state-wide risks associated with  high-volume, slick-water, horizontal hydraulic fracturing. "
  • Finger Lakes LPG Storage, LLC, Underground Storage Facility - October 2014 The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as Lead Agency in the environmental review of Finger Lakes, LLC's proposed liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage project, will conduct a pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference. The purpose of the issues conference is to determine party status for any person who has properly filed a petition for party status and to define the scope of issues, if any, that require adjudication with regard to the application before the Department. Please note that participation at the issues conference is limited to Department staff, the applicant and those persons requested party status. The complete Notice of Deadline for Petitions for Party Status and Issues Conference, is available in the Department's Environmental Notice Bulletin for 10/29/2014. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • Zebra Mussel Impact on Seneca Lake Secchi Disc Depths: The Secchi disc is a simple but robust method to measure water transparency (shown left). The disc is attached to a rope and slowly lowered through the water until it just disappears from view. This depth is noted. It is lowered some more, then slowly raised until the disc is just observed. This depth is also noted. The Secchi depth is the average of these two depths 
  • Seneca Lake Get the facts on Seneca Lake from the NYS DEC
  •  Ontario County Planning & Research Department
  • http://www.gflrpc.org/Seneca Lake/Watershed Report/chap9.pdf
  • http://www.gflrpc.org/Seneca Lake/Watershed Report/chap8.pdf