Note that Jeremy Weir Alderson is scheduled to be in court, where he is likely to be sentenced, Wed. Aug. 20, at 5:00 p.m., by Judge Berry in Reading Town Court, 3914 County Rd. 28, Watkins Glen, 14891.
Report Says WGFD Grossly Unprepared for Crestwood Emergency
If you’ve been following the saga of the salt cavern storage of flammable gas (LPG/LNG) along the west side of Seneca Lake, you know that a series of out-of-state corporations (Inergy, Crestwood/Midstream/Arlington) have been preparing to turn the Finger Lakes region into a fossil-fuel storage and transportation hub, starting at this site in Reading, north of Watkins Glen.
You’ve also heard Jeremy Weir Alderson, editor and publisher of the No Frack Almanac, and others frequently ask in public whether there is a reasonable emergency management plan in place should a (not unlikely) accident/explosion/fire happen at the facility. And you’ve heard officials and Crestwood assure residents there’s no reason for concern, that the Watkins Glen Fire Department is well trained to act in such an emergency.
Weeks ago, Alderson filed Freedom of Information Law requests for documents relating to the facility and the preparedness of local emergency responders to protect the community. After studying the documents he received, today Alderson released an exclusive report on the readiness of the Watkins Glen Fire Department to combat potential emergencies related to the proposed expansion of the Crestwood gas-storage facility.
Some highlights of the report:
* Only nine members of the WGFD are qualified to take offensive action to
extinguish a hazmat fire.
* The WGFD has never exchanged a single piece of correspondence with
Crestwood on any subject and has never corresponded with anyone anywhere
about the potential dangers of salt-cavern gas storage.
* The WGFD does not have in its possession a map of the Crestwood facility
or a diagram of the shut-off valves for the part of the facility that is
already operational, as would be required by standard firefighting practice.
* Though the Schuyler County Emergency Services assure the public that they
do “Comprehensive all hazards pre-disaster planning” and “Pre-disaster
mitigation planning,” when it comes to Crestwood, they can present no
evidence that they have done any such planning at all.
* In response to a Freedom of Information Law request covering the past
five years, the WGFD could not produce a single document from Crestwood
listing the hazardous materials it has on site, even though, according to
New York law (NY.GMU.LAW 209u), such documents are supposed to be filed
* The WGFD admits to having taken $15,000 (of which at least $10,000 was
solicited) from Crestwood (and its predecessor company, Inergy), but
claims to have no record of those transactions and, thus, can present no
evidence that that’s all they took.
“Would Smokey Bear take contributions from the Carelessly Thrown Match
Association?” asks Alderson. “Based on the evidence that the WGFD, itself,
provided, the WGFD’s's stated position that it is prepared to handle
possible Crestwood emergencies is simply untrue. These types of facilities
are accident prone, and the people who are supposed to protect us are
endangering us and themselves instead.”
Read the full report here.