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The Forum:

Data analysis shows county culture clash

To the Editor on Dec. 31:

It is not marked on any map, but there is apparently a dividing line running up the middle of Seneca Lake. The real-life data-set provided to me by the group “We Are Seneca Lake” indicates this. This data-set is the "arrestees" (aka “Seneca Lake Defenders”) who have blocked the Crestwood Gates to supposedly stop an expansion of natural-gas storage capacity at the Seneca Gas Storage facility on the west shoulder of Seneca Lake.

When the "arrestee-total" stood at 92, I used Google Earth and the data provided for the arrestees to "map" their hometowns. While those hometowns literally ranged from coast-to-coast across the USA, when you narrowed it down to the general Finger Lakes Area, you got this spatial-distribution:

Hometowns of Crestwood Gates arrestees -- Detail of Finger Lakes area.

The numbers shown by the "pins" are simply the arrestee number from the list they came from.

At this scale, the “pins” of Google Earth start hiding each other, but note there are distinct clusters around Geneva, Trumansburg, Ithaca, and Dryden. In Schuyler County there is also "Hector," but "Hector" is both a Post Office and also means the "Town of Hector" which is the whole NE corner of the County, so I have spread some to that general eastern-county area, since I did not have street addresses to work with. Others were more specifically located at "Burdett" and "Cayutaville." Only one arrestee was from Watkins Glen itself, the seat of Schuyler County.

Burrowing down another level and looking at only Schuyler County, and also marking the site of the arrests, then you see this:

Hometowns of Crestwood Gates arrestees -- Detail of Schuyler County

Here is where reality clearly deviates from “standard statistics.” If concern about a facility was equally dispersed among a population and all other factors were equal, you would expect “equal representation” from that population in the arrestee group. But this map clearly shows the arrestees are from the eastern side of the county.

From a statistical outlook, the lack of representation from the west side is extremely atypical, and would rate as unbelievable data if it were not known to be real!

So why might that be? Let me postulate a few reasons, and I’m sure you can add others of your own:

--Those living closest to existing gas storage are the least bothered by it;
--Those living closest rate gas storage as “opportunity” rather than “threat”;
--It is a new popular fad of people from the eastern-county area to be arrested on the other side of the Lake;
--The closer you get to Ithaca, something is in the water that affects people and makes them want to be arrested – attracted like moths to a flame.

The total arrested has now climbed to 170 since this work was initially done, but the distribution shown above has not shifted. A total of 46% of these arrestees are from Tompkins County, and another 19% from the same area of Schuyler County as shown above.

David Crea, PE
Watkins Glen, NY

Disclaimer: David Crea is an employee of US Salt, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crestwood, but says he writes here as a private citizen-observer only, without any guidance or input from company management.



© The Odessa File 2014
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869