TAKE ACTION NOW: Contact the PSC

Click here to tell the PSC that you oppose the Beach Lane landing site for the South Fork Wind Farm!

Dear Honorable Kathleen H. Burgess:

I am writing today to express my strong opposition to the proposed landing site for the South Fork Wind Farm, which does not belong on a small, narrow lane in our community.

Beach Lane in Wainscott is a rural lane, bordered by farmland, that offers serenity and unspoiled nature that defines the character of our community. The selection of this site for landing this cable defies common sense and the common practices of the developers themselves, who rarely if ever land a cable outside an industrial area or major public park anywhere else in the world.

Beyond our desire to protect Wainscott’s character, the selected site falls short on substantive issues, from safety concerns to failing to represent the minimum environmental conservation impact, as required by Public Service Law S126-1. There are alternative routes that are shorter in total length, do not impose the impact and disruption to a residential area and its contiguous family beach, offer a better means of meeting future energy needs on the East End and are safer to build.

We trust that the Commission, after a thorough investigation, will reject South Fork’s invasive and inappropriate proposal, and require them to seek an entirely fitting route, meeting all mandated requirements.

We thank you for your help in protecting our community.

BREAKING NEWS: Testimony reveals Wainscott route does not meet Public Service Commission rules; identifies ‘minimum adverse environmental impact’ alternative routes

We hope you and your families continue to be safe and that fall has started well for everyone. We wanted to provide you a detailed update on several important developments related to the South Fork Wind Farm.

  • We are now more confident than ever in making the case, before the Public Service Commission (P.S.C.), that Wainscott will not satisfy New York State law for an appropriate landfall site. We filed expert testimony today with the P.S.C. that shows Ørsted cannot meet the legal burden that developers must pursue a route with ‘minimum adverse environmental impact’ (Public Service Law §126-1). Indeed, we identified and then developed a fully engineered route, along with additional alternatives, that would facilitate offshore wind energy on the East End, while significantly minimizing unprecedented impacts on multiple residential communities.
  • We are poised to initiate litigation against both the East Hampton Town Board and the Trustees to stop their plan to shortcut New York State law by granting easements prior to the conclusion of the New York State Article VII process. Both governments have been motivated by Ørsted’s cash as they dismiss our fact-based concerns with a shrug. Indeed, neither of them have hired any independent expert at any point. Said differently, no one has independently evaluated a proper route for a first-ever, $1.6+ billion offshore windfarm in New York; the Town’s and the Trustees’ have relied solely on the Applicant’s self-interested word.

Several actions need your immediate attention to ‘do the right thing, the right way.’

FURTHER DETAILS

Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Testimony reveals Wainscott route does not meet Public Service Commission rules; identifies ‘minimum adverse environmental impact’ alternative routes”

BREAKING NEWS: Ørsted starts test drilling and Wainscott starts incorporation proceedings to create the Village of Wainscott

June 22, 2020

As many of you have now witnessed, Ørsted (a.k.a. Deepwater) began test drilling today to further its long-term effort to target Wainscott as the location for its high-power, 138,000-volt electric cables for its proposed sub-scale windfarm. This precipitous action followed the company reneging on its promises to pursue alternative options to landing cables in Wainscott. The East Hampton Town Board and the EastHampton Trustees – each of whom is trading access to Wainscott for money from Ørsted – continue to abet the company’s single-minded focus on Wainscott. Their bull-IMG_6965headed facilitation ignores recently identified alternative routes that are less impactful to the community.

Fortunately, the Town’s abuse of the Wainscott community does not leave us without recourse. Wainscott’s citizens can pursue self-determination and declare independence. The Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott plans to initiate incorporation proceedings on, appropriately, July 4. You can now register for individual slots that weekend to sign the official petition, which requests an electoral vote. Please go to our online calendar sign-up sheet (click here) to secure your slot on July 4 or 5 to sign in person (as required) between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Wainscott Chapel.

Incorporation as the Village of Wainscott would allow us to exercise greater control over our zoning and provide more cost-effective services. As a Village – like our neighbors in the Villages of East Hampton, Sagaponack and Sag Harbor – Wainscott could:

  1. Exercise all available power to influence the decision on whether Ørsted can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott when other less-impactful alternatives have now been identified and remain available;
  2. Better control our local and school taxes, through more disciplined financial management and control over zoning issues (e.g., multi-family housing);
  3. Help reduce airport noise at and shape the future of the East Hampton Airport once current Federal Aviation Administration restrictions expire next year (2021) – discussions and studies are already underway about restrictions as well as potential alternative uses; this will affect Wainscott more than any other part of East Hampton;
  4. Better address the recent zoning proposal to subdivide the 70.5-acre sand and gravel pit in the heart of Wainscott into 50 commercial and industrial plots;
  5. Set and enforce lower speed limits in Wainscott (which certain Towns are not able to do, but Villages can) and improve dangerous vehicular traffic conditions;
  6. Protect our unique agricultural heritage, better advocate for our local farmers, and preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics through more responsive zoning;
  7. Enact more stringent energy conservation and green zoning rules; and
  8. Better remediate the water contamination, likely from the Town-controlled airport, which resulted in the State declaring 47 acres a State Superfund site. Half our community has not been hooked up to the municipal water system.

We would, in essence, have the representative government we do not now have – and need more than ever – as an incorporated Village within East Hampton. Today none of the 14+ elected officials are from Wainscott. We receive fewer benefits than we pay in taxes. Moreover, as the smallest hamlet (with, cynically, the fewest votes), the Town Board majority believes it can ignore your opinions (and consistently does). While the Town calls Wainscott ‘the gateway’ to East Hampton, it treats us more like its doormat.

Based on the initial findings from 11 months of research with law firms (including Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan), municipal finance consultants and accountants, surveyors, the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, and public affairs advisors we have engaged, we are excited to start the incorporation of Wainscott as a village.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

  1. Make sure you register to vote in Wainscott by June 26 (Fri.) in order to sign the incorporation petition and be allowed to vote (click here for the voter registration forms or register online here);
  2. Reserve your spot now to sign the formal incorporation petition in person on July 4 or 5 through our online calendar (click here); and
  3. Volunteer to be part of the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org)

* * *

You now see for yourself the result of a lack of a representative government. Given the Town continues to ignore our community’s desires – as it has to date with the hamlet’s overwhelming opposition to landing electric power cables in Wainscott when it is now abundantly clear that better alternate options exist – we cannot expect any different on any of other issues we face. We will exercise our right to control local zoning.

We are looking forward to this new path. We also wish you a safe and healthy summer,

Gouri.Edlich@wainscott.org

Process launched to incorporate the Village of Wainscott

May 19, 2020

I hope this note finds you and all your loved ones safe and healthy.

Building upon recent updates, we wanted to share important news: We have formed the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott. Given multiple once-in-a-generation zoning-related issues in Wainscott as well as the Town’s continued lack of responsiveness to our community, many of you have encouraged us to exercise our constitutional right to greater home rule.

Incorporation as the Village of Wainscott would allow us to exercise greater control over our zoning and provide more responsive services to our community. As a Village – like our next-door neighbors in the Villages of East Hampton, Sagaponack and Sag Harbor – Wainscott would be able to:

  1. Better address the recent zoning proposal to subdivide the 70.5-acre sand and gravel pit in the heart of Wainscott along Rt. 27 into 50 commercial and industrial plots [Read article];
  2. Help shape the future of the East Hampton Airport once current Federal Aviation Administration restrictions expire next year (2021) – discussions and studies are already underway about restrictions as well as potential alternative uses; this will affect Wainscott more than any other part of East Hampton [Read article];
  3. Significantly influence the decision on whether Ørsted (a.k.a. Deepwater) can land its high-power electric cables in Wainscott when other less-impactful alternatives have now been uncovered and that the Town Board and Trustees (each of whom are seeking money from Ørsted) as well as the company are willfully ignoring [Read our April update];
  4. Set and enforce lower speed limits in Wainscott (which certain Towns are not able to do, but Villages can) and improve dangerous vehicular traffic conditions;
  5. Protect our unique agricultural heritage, better advocate for our local farmers, and preserve the unique, bucolic characteristics through more responsive zoning;
  6. Enact more stringent energy conservation and green zoning rules; and
  7. Better remediate the contamination of our water, likely from the Town-controlled airport, which resulted in the State declaring 47 acres of the airport a State Superfund site last summer. Still more than half our community has not been hooked up to the municipal water system as of February [Read article].

We would, in essence, have the representative government we do not now have – and need more than ever – as an incorporated Village within East Hampton. Today none of the 14+ elected East Hampton officials are from Wainscott. Moreover, as the smallest hamlet (with, cynically, the fewest votes), the majority of the Town Board believes it can ignore your opinions (and consistently does). While the Town calls Wainscott ‘the gateway’ to East Hampton, it treats us more like its doormat.

Based on the initial findings from 10 months of research with law firms (including Bee Ready Fishbein Hatter & Donovan LLP), municipal finance consultants, surveyors, the Suffolk County Village Officials Association, and public affairs advisors we have engaged, we are now prepared to formally explore the incorporation of Wainscott as a village.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

  1. We need you to make sure you are registered to vote in Wainscott no later than Friday, June 19, in order to sign the forthcoming petition to incorporate and then be allowed to vote (click here to download the voter registration form or register online here);
  2. Volunteer to be part of the Exploratory Committee for the Incorporation of Wainscott (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org); and
  3. Let us know what questions you have (email us at incorporation@wainscott.org).

* * *

Given the Town continues to ignore our community’s desires – as it has to date with the hamlet’s overwhelming opposition to landing electric power cables in Wainscott when it is now abundantly clear that better alternate options exist – we cannot expect any different on any of other issues we face. We can – and need to – exercise our constitutional right to control local zoning issues.

We are looking forward to this new path. We also wish you a safe and healthy spring. Warmest regards,

Gouri.Edlich@wainscott.org

http://www.wainscott.org

Recently conducted independent analysis shows Hither Hills State Park to be superior route

Many alternative landing sites exist other than Beach Lane. Deepwater Wind itself proposed four alternative sites. Yet it was clear from the start that the private company wanted to land at Beach Lane; that site maximizes its own profits and financial returns to its investors.

A recent detailed and independent analysis of the project (as well as Deepwater’s own filings to the New York State Public Service Commission) shows that Beach Lane is an inferior site. PVE LLC, a full-service engineering and environmental consulting firm, and A. Page & Associates LLC, an energy consulting firm with expertise in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and related regulatory proceedings, filed their independent findings with the New York P.S.C. on July 12, 2019.

ConsiderationsWainscottHither Hills
State Park
Consistent with past N.Y.
State practice of landing
power cables on State
Parks (e.g., Neptune,
Poseidon)
NoYes
Cable distance  
– Total (miles)65.561.1
– Submarine length (miles)61.449.6
Landfall site  
– Transition vault below water tableYesNo (40 feet
above)
– Landing Site within or adjacent to Active
Farm Field
YesNo
– Residential neighborhoodYesNo

Continue reading “Recently conducted independent analysis shows Hither Hills State Park to be superior route”

Stop Deepwater from destroying our beach and hamlet

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.

Continue reading “Stop Deepwater from destroying our beach and hamlet”

Assemblyman Thiele withdraws support, citing Deepwater’s “classic ‘bait and switch'” and “unethical tactics”

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., sends formal letter to Town Board to stop Deepwater from starting premature drilling

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

Town-appointed committee votes 10-2 against Deepwater’s Wainscott landing site

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 …

Continue reading “Town-appointed committee votes 10-2 against Deepwater’s Wainscott landing site”

Deepwater tries to pull a fast one and start drilling early … and members of the Town Board want to abet them

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”