|
The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Protesters: Gas industry, tourism don’t combine

  • Opponents of fracking and the Inergy facility jumped on Wednesday’s dedication of the Seneca Lake Scenic Byway as a chance to deliver their message - the gas industry doesn’t mix with wineries and tourism.

    • email print
  • Opponents of fracking and the Inergy facility jumped on Wednesday’s dedication of the Seneca Lake Scenic Byway as a chance to deliver their message - the gas industry doesn’t mix with wineries and tourism.
    They lined Route 414, waving and holding signs as elected officials arrived at the Hector fire hall.
    Gas Free Seneca and Hector Clean Waters held their own press conference 50 yards away at Hazlitt 1852 winery.
    And as the politicians stood and cut the ribbon opening Route 414 as a New York State scenic byway, the protesters stood in the background, unfurling banners.
    The point they wanted to get across: Why designate the Seneca wine trail as a scenic byway to help bring in more tourists, then allow heavy shale gas drilling and a large-scale LPG storage and distribution facility?
    “We’ve been in business here for 28 years. We’re one of the largest employers in Schuyler County,” said Doug Hazlitt, owner of Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. “I’m just so glad that we’ve been able to designate this highway as a scenic byway ... I think it’s going to go a long way toward keeping our tourist industry here productive. I think we’re really on the right track.”
    “I think the wrong track would be gas storage, fracking, and the tremendous amount of truck traffic that would bring,” Hazlitt added.
    Inergy, based in Kansas City, already stores natural gas in the salt caverns along the lake. Its proposal to add propane and butane storage caverns, along with related infrastructure such as truck and rail yards, is still under review by the DEC.
    Sen. Tom O’Mara, however, said later that while truck traffic was a concern, he feels the gas industry can bring economic activity to the region - without threatening agriculture or the environment - as long as it’s properly regulated by the DEC.
    “We want to find ways to balance the interests and to make it work,” O’Mara said. “I think it can co-exist.”

      calendar