New York's Finger Lakes region is a national treasure: 9,000 square miles of forest, wetlands, streams and lakes, including 10,000 acres of vineyards. The Finger Lakes wine industry now rivals California's and, say some wine-lovers, even France's. Finger Lakes National Forest has 13,232 acres of forest, trails, ponds and wildlife.
Just southwest of the forest is Watkins Glen, a geological marvel formed 12,000 years ago, its 19 waterfalls cascading over walls of leafy shale directly into Seneca Lake. The lake is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, furnishing water for 100,000 people.
Now this region is in imminent danger of becoming a major gas hub. A five-year-long drive by the corporation Crestwood Midstream Partners (formerly Inergy Midstream LP) to store massive quantities of fracked gas under Seneca Lake, is nearing its conclusion.
In May the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), without whose permission the project cannot go forward, approved it despite widespread opposition by the region's residents. Most of the hundreds of comments filed with FERC, which allows the public to submit written statements during its reviews, denounced the project.