The Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) strongly supports the decision by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to reject the proposed expansion of the National Fuel Gas (NFG) storage facility in Allegany State Park. ADK also strongly supports OPRHP’s decision to reduce the lease agreement to 15 years and to reduce the size of the underground storage area.
“We strongly support OPRHP’s decision to oppose any change in capacity or manner of operation which would increase the environmental impact of the Limestone gas storage facilities to Allegany State Park,” said Neil Woodworth, Executive Director and Counsel of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “ADK calls upon Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Rose Harvey to ensure that at the end of this lease renewal period, NFG will cease use of the Limestone gas storage facility, vacate the park entirely and remove all facilities and infrastructure from within Allegany State Park.”
The Limestone gas storage facility has operated in Allegany State Park since 1964 under a 50-year lease. The lease rights were acquired by NFG in 1990, and currently contain 14 storage wells. The previous 50-year lease expired in June 2014 when State Parks and NFG entered into a one year lease extension to allow negotiations of a new lease. The original state lease allowed NFG to use 9,000 acres and allows for the creation of a network of roads, pipelines, and well heads to permit the injection of gas below ground, until such time as needed and withdrawn. The existing surface footprint of the NFG gas storage facility is 15 acres for the injection well pads plus 2 roads (total less than 50 acres). During the recent negotiations on the lease renewal, NFG pressed for an increase in gas storage capacity to 5 billion cubic feet and expansion of the well field.
OPRHP recently released the proposed lease agreement. ADK is pleased that the lease renewal agreement rejects the proposed NFG expansion, reduces the underground footprint by 1, 608 acres; and prohibits:
- any expansion of the gas storage facilities
- new well locations or injection point locations
- the construction of new access roads or the expansion of existing access roads
- any cutting or clearing of vegetation or other ground disturbance
- any increase in the amount of gas stored, and
- the construction of anyadditional pipelines or other infrastructure.
Under the proposed lease, NFG agrees that the leased area is fully open to the public for all forms of outdoor recreation. The new lease will terminate on June 30, 2030.
ADK reminds the public that OPRHP will accept public comments until Tuesday, March 31, 2015. Those interested in submitting comments regarding the renewal of the natural gas storage lease may do so by emailing their comments to: Alleganylease@parks.ny.gov
You can also make a comment through ADK’s Action Alert.