Tonawanda News

Columns

March 19, 2014

CONFER: State's foot-dragging aggravates our energy woes

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — So, it was a perfect storm.

Unconcerned with the big picture and out of tune with the science of economics (not to mention always on the hunt for an attention grabber), politicians and bureaucrats at all levels of government have been very quick to charge the industry with gouging. They want the masses to believe prices are high because the “evil oil companies” want to take advantage of their customers in a high-need winter.

It’s grandstanding at its finest and, in New York, it masks the blame that needs to be directed at the accusers themselves.

For 41/2 years now, state officials have been sitting on an application by Crestwood Midstream to repurpose abandoned salt mines in Reading for storage of liquefied propane and butane. The $50 million investment would allow the Finger Lakes storage facility to contain 88.2 million gallons of propane at once. The fuels would be constantly cycled in and out, to the tune of 96 semis and 48 railcars per every 24-hour period, 7 days a week. A facility of that scale would keep New York — and likely the whole northeast — well supplied.

Were it in operation now, industry officials say it would have inhibited the supply and pricing issues currently plaguing upstate New Yorkers. The savings to consumers for this winter alone would have surpassed $84 million. Looking ahead, the company has plans to increase total storage to 210 million gallons, affording New Yorkers price and supply certainty in perpetuity, capitalizing on the Marcellus Shale reserves and making for very affordable heating bills.

All of those plans are well and good, but they mean nothing if Crestwood Midstream isn’t allowed to forge ahead with them.

The Department of Environmental Conservation’s silence over the firm’s application has been deafening. The public comment period closed in November 2011, and here it is March 2014, with no word from state officials about the future of the approval process. Making matters even more confounding is that the state’s geologist approved the integrity of the abandoned salt mines well over a year ago.

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Columns
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  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

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  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

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  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

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  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

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  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

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