Dear Wainscott Neighbors,
Earlier this week, the Town Board approved a conditional easement that would allow Orsted to install a high-voltage electric cable from Wainscott Beach to a new substation on Buell Lane, traveling through Wainscott in the process. The vote was 4-1, with the dissent raising concerns on undue haste and lack of information. The majority’s decision was expected, given the Board’s total surrender to Orsted in its rush to get a share of $850,000 a year in compensation for giving away our community beach. This step comes despite the clear indication – before the last Town election – from Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc that the Town would wait until the end of the state regulatory and environmental review process, which is still in the middle of briefing.
The Board took this action having never hired a single expert and failing to conduct any studies. While the Board held a hearing to address community concerns, our detailed letter of risks and issues with the agreements (click here) was ignored in a check-the-box exercise rushed through in five days by the Town Supervisor that was reminiscent of a show trial. By way of example of their disregard for the Wainscott community, at the last Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee meeting (click for article), Deputy Supervisor Sylvia Overby promised to get back to the community on these concerns before the vote, but as the WCAC chair confirmed, she never did. Van Scoyoc went so far as to claim he had incorporated our ideas in their plans – which is not true at all. In fact, as a final late hit, Van Scoyoc eliminated the funds originally dedicated to Wainscott from the payments he negotiated from Orsted.
The truth is they never responded to any of the issues raised and simply said they had heard enough from Orsted to move forward. Just imagine how much better this all would have been if Wainscott had been represented by its own rather than the Town Board throwing us under the bus for money and to burnish their legacy.
Rest assured, the fight will continue because self-congratulations is not a substitute for a rigorous analysis. One does not have to ruin a hamlet to save the planet, particularly when multiple viable and less environmentally impactful options exist. We believe we have significant grounds to sue the Town for this illegal and reckless action. Our lawyers have been preparing for this moment for some time, and we expect to move forward with litigation in the coming days. We believe in its rush to appease Orsted, the Town took short cuts, and we are confident in our legal position. We will keep you updated as the situation develops.
We all know why the Town and Orsted rushed to grant the easement before the state environmental review was completed: They are afraid of us and our voices. They are afraid we will incorporate as a village and gain control of the right to stop putting Orsted’s 1.6-billion-dollar infrastructure project in our quaint residential community. We may force Orsted to land at a non-residential site as they do in their home country. Wainscott will not be cowed by Orsted and its money. We will not be bullied any longer by the Supervisor and his allies, including the so-called Wainscott United. Wainscott United will do anything to stop incorporation because they have their own agenda linked to the Supervisor, as evidenced by their founders’ massive contributions to the Supervisor’s and Trustees’ political campaign. We will have a voice, and we will stand up for our community.
The fight for incorporation is continuing, with a public hearing on the issue scheduled for February 5th. We will be sending you specific information next week on how to register and participate in this virtual event. We are asking for a vote, for the right to determine for ourselves if we want to incorporate as a village. It should be up to us, and not just up to Supervisor Van Scoyoc. In the end, we should have this debate as a community and a vote.
We always knew this fight would be a long one, and there are more turns in the road ahead. We will continue our efforts to protect our community and its unique and special character. Thank you for your continued support, and stay tuned for more information in the days ahead.