BREAKING NEWS: Deepwater’s May 30 letter: Now it is focused on its Hither Hills alternative route with seriousness of purpose

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).

While Ørsted Deepwater wrote it is “not yet at this time prepared to designate a change in [its] preferred route,” they are now focused on Hither Hills and trying to make it work. They wrote they want to reach an agreement with us and are committed to working with us. Moreover, Thomas wrote that Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott’s “clear support for renewable energy is appreciated” and also respected that we have been “strong and effective advocates” for our community. Thank you! We can be passionate about renewable energy, conservation and our hamlet simultaneously.

As Town Councilman Jeff Bragman (the Town Board’s liaison to Wainscott) said at the WCAC meeting on Saturday when the summary of the letter was relayed to the group, “this is a welcome surprise” and “I think this is a game changer.” We agree, although now is not a time to celebrate as if we were in the end zone.

THIS IS A CRITICAL MOMENT FOR OUR SMALL COMMUNITY TO CONTINUE TO PRESS ON WITH OUR ADVOCACY FOR WAINSCOTT AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
Please send comments to the Secretary for the Commission at secretary@dps.ny.gov. Tell them how special Wainscott is; examples of what the community means to you; let them know you are a strong supporter of conservation and renewable energy, particularly wind; let them know that Deepwater’s plans to run extra-high power cables ashore at Beach Lane and then throughout the hamlet of Wainscott is disruptive; that it is in not in the public interest to do that, particularly when Ørsted Deepwater itself has identified Hither Hills as a viable route; that there are clear advantages to that route (e.g., no residential area or farms there; precedent for using state parks for landing underwater power cables, both on Long Island and in other places where Deepwater has sited wind farms; the Hither Hills submarine cable route is shorter at 49.4 miles, than the Beach lane route at 61.4 miles – and shorter lines decrease energy losses; that you support the least intrusive landing site at Hither Hills and protects the bucolic character of our hamlet)
Contribute to the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Inc. so we can drive this over the line and address the many other important topics we face as a community. Please send contributions to P.O. Box 816, Wainscott, N.Y. 11975. (As a reminder, contributions are not-tax deductible).

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