Propane Storage is Nothing New to the Finger Lakes

NYPGA Calls on State to Approve Finger Lakes Facility and Upgrade Our Propane Infrastructure

Propane infrastructure in the Northeast is inadequate to meet peak winter demand. Faced with record cold temperatures and limited delivery options last winter, the propane industry worked around the clock to procure enough propane to safely keep homes, businesses, hospitals, and schools heated. Propane dealers had to look farther away to find available supplies that could be brought home to New York at significantly higher cost.

It is estimated that New York households paid nearly 43% more for propane last winter due to these infrastructure constraints, costing residential consumers more than $410 more per household and creating $100+ million in economic harm to consumers statewide.

New York has long been subject to these types of winter disruptions, but the problem is growing larger as traditionally supply options are no longer available and greater amounts of propane are being exported. Without immediate steps to construct more local propane storage facilities, the same scenario is poised to replay itself again and again.

Fortunately, there is a shovel-ready solution that can help protect consumers from price spikes and prevent future supply shortages: Crestwood’s proposed Finger Lakes LPG storage facility in Reading, New York. Using salt caverns that already exist today at Crestwood’s US Salt complex in Schuyler County, the Finger Lakes facility will hold enough propane to heat more than 250,000 homes in an average a year. Had the facility been operational last winter, Crestwood could have supplied the market enough propane to allow New Yorkers to avoid the economic harm they experienced.

Storing propane in salt caverns located in the Finger Lakes region is nothing new. Propane has been stored underground in the area for decades. Propane has been safely stored in underground salt caverns at Crestwood’s LPG storage facility in Bath (less than 30 miles away in neighboring Steuben County) since 1953, while Enterprise has stored LPG underground in Watkins Glen (just down the street from US Salt) since the early 1980s. US Salt also stored LPG in its salt caverns without incident for 20 years.

That’s because the unique geology of local salt formations makes these salt caverns ideal for storing propane. While this track record underscores the safety and utility of underground storage, it also demonstrates how propane storage can coexist with local wine and tourism industries, which have flourished at the same time. In fact, several local inns and wineries burn propane to stay warm and harvest their crops.

Crestwood has been waiting five years for approval from the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) to convert existing caverns into LPG storage. This is the case although the New York State Geologist and the Army Corps of Engineers approved the safety attributes of the Finger Lakes facility more than 18 months ago, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has on three occasions found the caverns to be suitable for gas storage.

The Finger Lakes LPG Storage facility will create at least fifty construction jobs and ten permanent jobs in Schuyler County, and is expected to add more than $25 million to the local tax base. These are direct economic benefits associated with activities occurring every day in the local communities (propane storage) and involving a clean-burning “green” energy (propane).

The NYPGA urges you to tell Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Martens that we can’t wait any longer for critical propane storage infrastructure. Tell the Governor and Commission to grant the permits for this safe and shovel-ready project because New York cannot afford another costly winter.

JOB CREATION · INCREASED TAX BASE · LOWER ENERGY COSTS

At the height of last year’s supply constraints, the NYPGA held a press conference at the State Capitol in Albany with Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz as well as regional and national industry leaders at to highlight the issue. A video from the event can be viewed below.

Download a brochure that explains the shortage (February 2014)

Finger Lakes LPG Storage Project Fact Sheet (September 2014)

Take Action

Tell Gov. Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens, and your legislator to say “YES” to the Finger Lakes Storage Project!!

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