Environmentalists, Democrats, democracy advocates, citizens living near Seneca Lake
United States of America

For years now, we in the Finger Lakes have been fighting against the plans of Crestwood Midstream LLC to create an expanded gas-storage facility on Seneca Lake. We oppose this project for many reasons, including the threat it poses to our lives and livelihoods. But there is another reason to oppose it that should be of great concern to every New Yorker who cares about not just the environment but also democracy and the rule of law: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a regulatory fraud, and they must not be allowed to get away with it.

Yes, they’ve given us the appearance of a regulatory process, complete with hearings, document submissions and endless minutia. There’s just one problem: by it's own admission, the DEC has never tested a single substance inside or outside the more than 100 wells in the Crestwood complex from the day they became operational to the present, a period of decades! They didn’t even test the “off scale” substance noted and collected by their own field inspector on November 20, 2009. So what kind of inspection is that, when you send out inspectors but refuse to test anything they find?

The simple fact of the matter is that the DEC has never known what is in the wells and, consequently, has never known whether or not its regulations have been carried out. It makes no difference what they say about how many cubic feet of what kind of gas should go where. For all they know, the wells are full of tuna or maybe toxic waste or maybe this is where Jimmy Hoffa’s body wound up. This process is the very definition of “turning a blind eye.” With no tests, there can be no evidence. With no evidence, there can be no enforcement. With no enforcement, there can be no such thing as protecting the people and environment of New York! This is corrupt to the core.

How many other sham regulatory exercises like this is the DEC conducting? How many other industries are being given free rein to do whatever they want? How can anyone trust the DEC when it allows such a travesty even once? Will anyone be held accountable?

Not surprisingly, in our particular situation, we have also found evidence of official lying, cover-up and unauthorized destruction of documents that cries out to be investigated. We wonder how much of that, too, is going on around the state, but for now, never mind the “small” stuff. We just want an answer to one simple question: How can you regulate something when you don’t know what it is?

We the undersigned address this petition to reporters, law makers, talk hosts, politicians, and anyone who can make a difference: Please either explain to us how it is possible to regulate something when you don’t know what it is or help us bring this travesty to light and put an end to it.

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The Take Action or Tell Us Why Not! petition to Environmentalists, Democrats, democracy advocates, citizens living near Seneca Lake was written by Jeremy Alderson and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.