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.
Our more detailed knowledge of Deepwater’s proposal is only now coming to light because federal rules forced the company to reveal more (but still not all) of its previously hidden plans. Deepwater in its late October filings with the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM):
Divulged it now would run powerlines twice as powerful on Wainscott Beach, Beach Lane beach and other local Wainscott roads than originally communicated. Deepwater subtly amended its original filing to:
Double the capacity of its ‘export’ line: It will now be 230,000 volts, rather than its originally communicated 138,000 volts; and
Double the onshore lines: It wants to run two 230,000-volt lines, so 460,000 volts total, throughout Wainscott;
To put that in perspective:
The new voltage is equivalent to having extra-high voltage (EHV) overhead power lines running just beneath the surface. EHV-classified lines start at 345,000 volts and are used for long distance, very-high power transmission; and
These high-voltage cables have the capacity to deliver 8X more electricity than can be generated by the planned and communicated 90-megawatt wind farm;
2. Admitted for the first time it will need to dig at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers (the smallest of which is 26’4” x 9’4” x 10’) throughout Wainscott. For example, its construction plans show that two of these massive vaults alone will be in front of our beloved Lisa and Bill’s Farm Stand;
3. Doubled the size of the project by installing 15 turbines of 12 megawatts each, rather than 6 megawatt turbines. This means that Deepwater is plans to build between a 130 MW to 180 MW wind farm, not the 90 MW wind farm that we were told during the many public meetings; and
4. Demonstrated that its Hither Hills route is superior to its desired profit-maximizing Beach Lane plan.
We have been misled.
None of these changes are highlighted, of course. Only a forensic review of their two-volume (I and II), 25-section, 4,744-page Construction and Operations revised submission identifies these issues.
It has also become apparent that this ‘project’ is part of an overall industrialization of Wainscott. PSEG Long Island formally said this week that the current windfarm is not solely for the benefit of East Hampton (despite what Supervisor Peter van Scoyoc said at a Wainscott Community Advisory Committee meeting this summer, “This is for us,” as he justified the overall project). The Long Island Power Authority revealed in its 2017 budget that it needs to build another electric substation in Wainscott. Now Deepwater this week admitted it planned to expand the wind farm far beyond its current footprint (New York State this week started to solicit bids for new offshore wind lease areas that are 2X to 9X Deepwater’s current plan. Guess where all those power lines will run through?).
Hopefully our elected representatives will now put a stop to this industrialization of Wainscott. Remember, they were already deeply divided this summer when they had half the information from Deepwater we now have obtained. The Town Board barely approved (a highly divided vote 3-2 in July) an intent to grant an easement to Deepwater for Beach Lane beach without this fuller set of information. The separate Town Trustees have not yet indicated formally where they stand on the issue. All local and federal authorities here have another viable option with Hither Hills, which is far better by Deepwater’s own admission (but which costs its own private investors more).
Deepwater has tried to lure the East Hampton Town Board and East Hampton Trustees. East Hampton should not sell out nature and the natural beauty of our iconic beach, known around the world, for so-called ‘community benefits.’
Over the 20-year term of the proposed Deepwater Wind contract, the $8.5 million face value of the proposed community benefits is equivalent to less than half of 1 pct. of the entire Town of East Hampton’s 2018 annual budget.
A significant portion of the ‘package’ goes to infrastructure (e.g., burying overhead electrical cables) that Deepwater Wind itself needs or contributions to ocean- and fish-related funds whose livelihoods Deepwater will impact. Marring our iconic beach – one of the most photographed scenes of the Hamptons – has no price, let alone when multiple reasonable alternative routes exist.
The Town would not get the ‘community benefits’ if Deepwater chose one of the alternate sites that go through State-owned land … wonder why they are selling out Beach Lane and Wainscott?
 Even assuming below-historic budget growth rates
Dear Francis, Bill, Rick, John, Brian, Dell, Jim, Susan and Susan, Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton
Dear Peter, Sylvia, Jeff, Kathee, and David, Town of East Hampton Board
We write on behalf of hundreds of named members of the Wainscott community about the planned landing of Deepwater Wind powerlines at Beach Lane. While we are very supportive of alternative energy sources (including wind and solar) and conservation, the selection of Beach Lane will permanently alter an already fragile and eroding iconic beach. Given that multiple viable alternative routes exist for Deepwater Wind, we petition the East Hampton Town Trustees to not disturb Beach Lane with its planned power cable landing site. More than 341 Wainscott residents and community members have already signed the petition to date, which was mainly distributed door-to-door and hand-to-hand in the hamlet over three weeks.
A for-profit company installing power cables will forever alter our sole, undivided community beach. As you know, Beach Lane beach is already prone to erosion on its own. Permanent cable landing infrastructure on land and in the water will affect our iconic beach, wildlife (including piping plover and fish) and community. Continue reading “Initial petitions sent to Town Trustees and Town Board”→