Without additional community action, foreign-owned Deepwater Wind LLC will land its 230,000-volt electric cable on Beach Lane beach and then run 460,000-volt lines throughout Wainscott. While we are very supportive of alternative energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) and conservation, installing permanent power line infrastructure in the water and on land (including at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers along the land route) will permanently alter an already fragile, eroding beach and community. Deepwater itself has identified multiple viable and more reasonable already-identified alternatives.
We wanted to update you all on some positive and important news.
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott has been in discussions with Ørsted Deepwater over the past few months. Due to the public groundswell (i.e., You: the 1,300+ community members who registered your concerns) against the poorly conceived Wainscott route for the power cable (especially when a viable and more sensible alternative was proposed by the company); our fact-based research, backed by the independent environmental, transmission and regulatory consultants that we hired; and your passion and activism, Deepwater sought us out several months ago. They wanted to engage in thoughtful discussions on how to come to a resolution that allows them to deliver much-desired renewable energy on time and protect the rights, nature and unique character of our small hamlet.
As a sign of good faith during these discussions, we requested Ørsted Deepwater not commence any test drilling (the two 100-foot test bores at the beach and 400+ pits) that it had planned to do before the end of March. Deepwater agreed to our request and, as well, let its Town Board-approved permits expire.
On Friday afternoon (May 30), Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind CEO Thomas Brostrøm wrote a letter to the Wainscott community with some additional important and positive news (read it here). First, he emphasized that Deepwater’s own alternative route that lands at the State Park (Hither Hills) is a technically and environmentally viable landing side and route. Ørsted Deepwater conducted, in earnest now, further detailed environmental, engineering and technical research on the Hither Hills route. Deepwater had heard our fact-based and legitimate concerns (e.g., the nature of our community; that a Wainscott landfall would mean a 11.8 mile, or 20 percent, longer and, therefore, less energy-efficient cable route; precedent in New York State of having sea-to-shore electric cables make landfall on State Parks; the impact on our farmers and businesses; the impact on a year-round residential neighborhood v. seasonal public park; the major water contamination issues we have been grappling with and that forced the Town to declare a formal state of emergency).Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Deepwater’s May 30 letter: Now it is focused on its Hither Hills alternative route with seriousness of purpose”
Many alternative landing sites exist other than Beach Lane. Deepwater Wind itself proposed four alternative sites. Yet it was clear from the start that private company wanted to land at Beach Lane; that site maximizes its own profits and financial returns to its investors.
An analysis of Deepwater’s own filings to the New York State Public Service Commission (Exhibit 3, Table 3.6.1 Summary of Alternative Landing Sites) shows that Beach Lane is an inferior site.
|Landing site within or adjacent to farms and|
|Landing Site within or adjacent to Active|
|Cable distance||49.6 miles|
20% less so
|Landing Site within FEMA 100-year floodplains||Yes||No|
|Potential Rare, Threatened, or Endangered|
Species within 100 feet of Landing Site as
indicated by the NYNHP
|Elevation above sea level of sea-2-shore|
electricity cable entry point
|~10 feet||~50 feet|
As Deepwater said in its own filings, “Hither Hills presents a viable alternative landing site, with minimal environmental and historical property impact located on New York State-owned property.”
Besides, why would you run high-power lines underneath childrens’ feet if you do not have to?
A former supporter of Deepwater and the South Fork Wind Farm, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (District 1) withdrew his support for Deepwater on Jan. 24, 2019, once he had seen the new information. He wrote:
This is the classic “bait and switch.” What we were originally told about the project and its goals are no longer true. A project originally proposed by an American company to address the growing energy needs of eastern Long Island, now is to be part of the portfolio of an international energy giant, whose first decision was a 44% increase in the size of the project. We are left to imagine what other changes might be made or what other projects might show up on our doorstep in the future … Continue reading “Assemblyman Thiele withdraws support, citing Deepwater’s “classic ‘bait and switch’” and “unethical tactics””
Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the hamlet, has now engaged capable environmental advisors and legal counsels, among other actions. We have written the Town Board to prevent Deepwater from prematurely starting by drilling 194 pits throughout Wainscott and boring two one-hundred-foot holes using heavy machinery.
See our full letter here: 2019-01-31 – E. Seiler Letter to Town of E. Hampton Board
The Town-appointed Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (WCAC) overwhelmingly voted (10-2) against a Beach Lane landfall site in December due to community members voicing their concerns. They wrote the Town Board, who appointed them, on Christmas Eve:
It is evident in Exhibit 3 of the Public Service Commission filing, “South Fork Export Cable Landing Site Alternatives,” that there are numerous advantages to using the Hither Hills site. As a Town appointed body representing the people of Wainscott, the WCAC requests that the Town not grant an easement to Deepwater Wind to come on shore at Beach Lane. This request represents the large majority of the WCAC and Wainscott residents …
The implications of Deepwater and the Town Board’s lack of transparency and attention to the interests of Wainscott hamlet residents is now imminent. At a Town Board working session on January 15, 2019, Deepwater revealed to the public for the first time that they planned to start exploratory work in Wainscott immediately by:
- Drilling nearly 194 pits throughout Wainscott and
- Boring two one-hundred-foot holes using heavy machinery
along Beach Lane, Wainscott Main Street, Sayres Path, Wainscott Stone Road, and Wainscott Northwest Road. Consistent with its deceptive pattern of operations and clear contempt for East Hampton residents, Deepwater made no mention of any of this just 10 days earlier when they spent three hours at the heavily attended Wainscott community meeting on January 5 to (unsuccessfully) defend its overall project. Not one word.
The Town Board itself had been sitting on Deepwater’s request to start its work since at least December 19, 2018, without informing the public. Furthermore, at that January 15 Working Session, several members of the Town Board appeared ready to summarily approve Deepwater’s unvetted drilling plans as soon as it could be put on a meeting agenda – despite no details, no notice, no explanation, no impact evaluation, no input from the community … and no approval from the New York State Public Service Commission. (Remember, Deepwater’s application has not even been deemed complete, let alone approved.) We also sent a letter today (read here) that lays out major questions about how the bare majority on the Town Board has conducted itself and if their actions have been consistent with their obligations and duties. Indeed, we express our serious reservations as to the lack of information the Town Board possessed before making decisions as to acceding to Deepwater’s contention that Wainscott Beach is the best available landing site among the 70 miles of access points.Continue reading “Deepwater tries to pull a fast one and start drilling early … and members of the Town Board want to abet them”
Deepwater’s request to bore two 100-foot holes and dig 194 holes throughout Wainscott was not on the published Town Board agenda for Feb. 7. But without public notice (and inconsistent with good government practices), Supervisor Peter van Scoyoc brought the resolution up anyway. So without public comment, a narrow majority of the Town Board (3-2) voted to allow Deepwater to accelerate its plan to run its high-powered lines through Wainscott with these geological and archaeological test pits. If these ‘tests’ are not controversial, then why no public comment and such secrecy?Continue reading “Town pulls a fast-one at Feb. 7 Board meeting, barely approving premature and accelerated drilling”
We need your help now and it is the perfect time for action. Deepwater filed with the New York State Public Service Commission (September 18, 2018) and the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (October 17, 2018) for permission to land its massive high-power cable on Beach Lane, one of the most popular public and scenic beaches in the Hamptons.
Your immediate action is needed:
1. Sign the petition. Please join hundreds of neighbors who have already signed our petition. You can sign online here;
2. Email the New York State Public Service Commission rejecting the proposed landing at Beach Lane. Under its Article VII review process, the Commission wants and solicits community comments. They matter a lot. Electronically submit them on the Public Service Commission website. Alternatively you can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org (make sure to reference Case 18-T-0604 Application of Deepwater Wind South Fork);
We wrote the Town Board on Dec. 11, 2018, delivering the petition signed by more than 1,000 Wainscott community members
Dear Peter, Sylvia, Jeff, Kathee, and David,
The Town Board should revisit its decision of its intent to grant Deepwater Wind South Fork LLC an easement to land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott. Since July when the Board narrowly approved (3-2) a motion of your intent to grant an easement at Beach Lane, a fuller picture emerged of the multiple negative impacts on the hamlet.
Barely five weeks after its initial mid-September filing with the New York State Public Service Commission, Deepwater revealed plans with a greater adverse impact on Wainscott than was known by the Town Board members when you voted. For example, Deepwater more than doubled all the infrastructure to be built throughout the hamlet. Indeed, the resolution itself references an amount of volts that has been materially exceeded.