Opponents of a plan to store gas near Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York declared a partial victory in mid-May when Crestwood, the Texas-based company seeking to build the storage containers in the lake’s unlined salt caverns, announced it was abandoning plans to store methane gas in the area. According to a filing with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the company couldn’t secure long-term contractual commitments with customers.

Salt caverns near Seneca Lake have a history of collapsing and the prospect of gas storage at such an unsafe site alarmed community members, including the thousands of 1199SEIU members and their families who depend on drinking water from the Finger Lakes. In 2015, 1199SEIU joined Gas Free Seneca, a diverse group of coalition members fighting to stop Crestwood.

“This is a tremendous victory for those who fought for years to protect Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes,” said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Gas Free Seneca.

Last year, 1199SEIU’s Executive Committee unanimously passed a resolution opposing Crestwood’s plan, stating: “1199 is proud to support the efforts of hundreds of committed activists across the region who have the courage to stand up to Crestwood and protest its pursuit of profit at the expense of the health of our communities.”

Since that time, Union members and staff collected hundreds of petition signatures opposing the plan, made their voices heard at press conferences locally and at the state capital, participated in blockades near Seneca Lake and staged a protest in front of Con Edison’s winter shareholder meeting in NYC.

- 1199 Magazine - May / June 2017