Groups Say Mexico Disaster Illustrates Gas Danger

Gas Explosion
Opponents of a gas storage project on the west side of Seneca Lake say this explosion at a Mexico City hospital is an illustration of why they are fighting a proposal to store LPG gas in subterranean salt caverns. Photo by LA Times

By Seneca Daily

Groups fighting the storage of propane gas in salt caverns near Seneca Lake sounded an alarm, noting that a gas explosion that severely damaged a hospital in Mexico City on Thursday came from gases identical to those Crestwood Midstream wants to store here.

The explosion in Mexico City was caused when a hose on a gas delivery truck broke and the resulting fumes ignited. A nurse and a baby died in the blast and a second infant died Thursday night, Mexico City authorities said. More than 70 people were injured in the blast that collapsed about three-fourths of the hospital

Gas Free Seneca and We Are Seneca Lake are trying to stop the Crestwood Midstream from storing Liquefied Petroleum Gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca near Watkins Glen. The groups issued a issued a joint statement Friday.

Gas Free Seneca spokesperson Joe Campbell said, “It does illustrate how dangerous this stuff is.” He noted that the combination of propane and butane that fueled the explosion in Mexico are the exact same gases Crestwood wants to store here. The company maintains that the proposed project, that would store tens of millions of gallons of liquefied petroleum gas, and up to two billion cubic feet of natural gas, in subterranean salt caverns thousands of feet below the shores of Seneca Lake, is safe.

From the joint statement by Gas Free Seneca and We Are Seneca Lake:

While details of the blast are still emerging and we are waiting to learn more, this accident, prompted by a gas leak, is a tragic reminder that these fuels carry inherent dangers and that the risks of burying hundreds of millions of gallons of LPG in the old salt caverns beside Seneca Lake are too great.

We recommit ourselves to our ongoing efforts to stop Seneca Lake from serving as a mass storage depot for LPG and call upon Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to join us in these efforts. There should be no possibility that the horrific scenes in Mexico City will be replayed in New York’s Finger Lakes.


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