Letter to the Editor: Crestwood and Seneca Lake
The drama of Crestwood’s proposed project of storing LPG in abandoned salt caverns under Seneca Lake continues. I’m a newbie to the lake, having lived here for just over four years, but already relating to Seneca Lake as family – nurturing, protective, and adding beauty and tranquility to our lives, asking nothing in return. Which is why it’s time for those who have remained silent on the sidelines to lend a voice to the Lake.
As a psychotherapist for over 35 years, there are aspects of the debate – to store or not to store – that strike me as impactful, yet not yet brought to conscious light. I say this because common sense and human decency would dictate that there be zero tolerance for any project that endangers Seneca Lake, the people who live on it, the businesses that thrive because of it, and the wildlife that depend on it. So it would seem obvious that if a project introduced even a 1% risk of danger to the lake and its “extended family”, it should be rejected. If any entity ignores this for the sake of a profit margin, we have crossed the line from profit making to greed. And, despite what Michael Douglas proclaimed in “Wall Street”, greed is good only for a few. The rest of us pay the price.
I know someone – a very intelligent, kind and generous person – who would let Crestwood do what it wants to. That baffled me. There had to be something else not yet clear and on the table that could sway this good man in that direction. And the only, unspoken explanation I could come up with is fear. The fear that government will begin to tell corporations and business what to do. The fear that free enterprise will be placed in chains and its freedom to operate taken away.
There is a freedom from unnecessary limits. This is often experienced as freedom of choice. There is also something of an existential freedom – a freedom for that which expresses and supports the best in us as humans. And there are times when we must relinquish the freedom of choice (e.g., choosing not to do something, such as making a profit at the expense of all other values) in order to achieve the Best in us. I believe this has been forgotten in this debate.
No pun intended, but neither greed nor fear should trump all other values. And since human nature is susceptible to both, then there is a need for some appointed person or group to help regulate, not rigidly control, but regulate these impulses so that the Best in all of us might find its way to the surface of this debate.
It’s a mystery to me as to why such regulating agencies haven’t assumed their protective responsibilities. It should not be up to the residents and business people of Seneca Lake to prove that some disaster will definitely happen, although that seems to be the case, despite competent risk assessments that point in that direction. It should be demanded of Crestwood that they – not us – be required to prove beyond any doubt that no such mishap will ever occur. And if they cannot do so with 100% assurance, then government regulators must act decisively and with integrity and turn Crestwood away from our Lake.
Andrew Seubert, LMHC
Photos from our recent trip to Albany to bring our concerns to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.