Dr. Joseph Campbellis a lifelong resident of the Finger Lakes. After graduating (cum laude) from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls in 1996, he established a successful practice in Naples, NY.
In late 2009, he learned of a plan by Chesapeake Energy to convert a depleted gas well in Pulteney, NY, into a deep injection disposal well for toxic waste flowback from Marcellus Shale fracking operations in Pennsylvania. The proposed project was near his home and less than 1/2 mile from Keuka Lake. With no previous experience as an activist,Joseph became involved in fighting that proposal. He worked with Pulteney Pure Waters, a grass roots organization, to oppose the project and was the spokesperson for the project. With the help of state and federal elected officials and massive local opposition, the grass roots organization prevailed and the permit application was withdrawn.
In 2010, Joseph and his partner, Yvonne Taylor were building a year round home on the East side of Seneca Lake. They learned of a proposal by an out of state oil and gas corporation to build an integrated gas storage and transport hub servicing the Northeast US on the shores of Seneca Lake, across Seneca Lake from their new home. Originally, the plan was to store 88.2 Million gallons of Liquefied Propane and Butane inthe unlined salt caverns along the lake, with a truck and rail depot for transporting the gas. They formed Gas Free Seneca which became the lead organization in the 7 year fight to keep dirty industrial gas storage from impacting the region. In 2012, Seneca Lake Pure Waters awarded Gas Free Seneca one of its annual awards, for its efforts to educate and inform the general public, elected officials and government administrators on the potential threats to Seneca Lake from the proposed LPG storage facility near Watkins Glen. Gas Free Seneca also received the Sustainability Award from Sustainable Tompkins.
Now, with other immediate threats to Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes region and in order to branch out from the single issue of gas storage, Seneca Lake Guardian is taking the lead in fighting for the right to drinkable, swimmable and fishable water for generations and a safe environment for years to come.
Joseph likes to say that, even though the corporations insist that these projects are completely safe, “There is no right way to do the wrong thing.”