Achieving a Balance

ALLegany Admin Bluiding_0229bWith the new gas storage lease proposed for Allegany State Park, PTNY believes the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has achieved a balance between the energy needs of the neighboring community and the protection of the biological, natural, cultural and recreational resources that will ensure the park remains a viable resource for future generations.

With over 65,000 acres, Allegany State Park is New York’s largest state park. The Park offers a wealth of camping, hiking, swimming, skiing, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor recreational opportunities to 1.5 million visitors annually. The Park also contains the largest known extent of old growth forest in New York State outside of the Adirondacks and Catskills, contributing significantly to the region’s biodiversity, and is home to significant habitats, rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and wildlife, wetlands, and natural communities.

In 1964, New York State entered into a 50-year lease with the Felmont Oil Corporation, now National Fuel (NFG), of state-owned gas storage rights underlying certain parcels of land in Allegany State Park. The original lease allowed automatic renewal in 1994 for 20 years under the same terms. The subsurface natural gas storage field lies beneath approximately 9,500 acres of Allegany State Park—15% of the park. NFG’s lease expired in June 2014.

After several months of negotiations, OPRHP successfully negotiated gas storage lease terms which protect the Park and public access, and get a fair recompense to the State. The proposed lease renewal reduces the underground footprint, does not allow for any expansion and provides all the benefits of the previous agreement including annual payments and usage of natural gas free of cost to the park.

A summary of the lease can be found on OPRHP’s website. A public meeting on the draft lease was held DATE and comments were accepted. Final decision? Read PTNY’s full comments.

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