Follow-up letter to the Town Board

December 11, 2018

Peter Van Scoyoc, Supervisor and Councilman
Sylvia Overby, Deputy Supervisor and Councilwoman
Jeffrey Bragman, Councilman
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Councilwoman
David Lys, Councilman
Town of East Hampton Board
159 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, N.Y. 11937

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.

The need to revisit the Wainscottt decision in light of these adverse developments is particularly compelling because Deepwater has written repeatedly that Hither Hills is a viable landing site for its wind farm. It wrote, for example, to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, “After engineering and environmental analysis as well as discussion with municipal and state agencies, the Beach Lane and Hither Hills landing sites were identified as the two viable landing sites for the [South Fork Export Cable] SFEC.”[1] It wrote to the N.Y. Public Service Commission, “If the Applicant is unable to obtain the necessary property rights for the Beach Lane landing site, Hither Hills landing site presents a viable alternative landing site, with minimal environmental and historical property impact located on New York State-owned property.”[2]

Our Wainscott community has now overwhelmingly rejected any consideration of a Beach Lane landfall for any-size project. Since our initial letter to you in September, three times more community members – we now number more than 1,000 with our numbers growing daily – have signed the petition rejecting that route [Exhibits]. While we are very supportive of alternative energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) and conservation, extra-high power lines and related infrastructure on land and in the water will forever alter an already fragile, eroding beach as well as disproportionately impact our small hamlet. We have shown how any landfall at Beach Lane would have overwhelming negative direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on recreation and tourism, our economy, and our environment.[3] The depressing impact on land values would also impact the property tax base and transfer taxes. Ten days ago (Dec. 1, 2018), the Town-appointed Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (WCAC) voted overwhelmingly (10-2) against a Beach Lane landing option. We saw that when this vote was subsequently raised with the Town Board last week, it was met with laughter from the Town Board councilmembers. This response was deeply disturbing to the Wainscott residents whose interests you purport to represent. We deserve better.

Deepwater has repeatedly misled you, the Town Trustees, Wainscott, and broader East End public. Your November 19 letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) reflects your own uncertainty as to the scope and breadth (long into this whole process): The Town had to request the Federal agency clarify with your partner several basic issues, including project goals, project size and cumulative impacts.

We call on you to immediately reconsider the Town Board’s intent to grant Deepwater an easement to Beach Lane and Wainscott now that you have this fuller fact base from Deepwater and the overwhelming rejection by the hamlet.


Wainscott community members have increasingly become alarmed and spoken up following the notice (albeit late) from Deepwater. We ourselves have had to make our neighbors aware of the plan to land high-power wires at their beloved beach and throughout Wainscott, let alone the full extent of the impact on the entire hamlet from the ever-expanding project. Now more than 1,000 named citizens – property owners, renters and business owners – have so far signed the petition rejecting Deepwater’s plans. That number is growing by the day.

  • We strongly believe in alternative energy sources, including wind and solar
  • Our sole, undivided community beach will forever be altered by a for-profit (hedge fund-created) company installing a landing site
    • Beach Lane beach is already prone to erosion on its own (as we all see)
    • Permanent cable landing infrastructure on land and in the water will affect our beach, wildlife (incl. piping plover, fish) and community
  • Multiple viable alternatives exist (including, but not limited to Hither Hills) for the landing site for Deepwater Wind’s turbines to come ashore, as the for-profit company itself noted
  • Moreover, running high-power electrical wires (think overhead power lines under your feet) have significant impacts on us, our children, animals and nature
    • Wainscott, Beach Lane, Georgica Pond and Wainscott Pond are all recognized scenic areas: Wainscott is both scenic area of statewide significance (SASS) and a N.Y. State Environmental Production Fund-identified scenic resource (LWRP)
    • Wainscott includes already environmentally sensitive areas that would be impacted by permanent power infrastructure and construction
    • The beach’s narrow access point means that any sea-to-shore (S2S) power cable will have to run directly underneath the most popular section of an already wildly popular beach
    • As the Town wrote in its recently created Wainscott Hamlet Report, “Preserving the rural and natural features is essential not only for the environment, but also for the economic viability of the community. The second home industry and tourism, the largest businesses driving the economy, are dependent on the desirability of Wainscott …”[4] Deepwater power lines will impact that both how Wainscott actually is as well as how it is perceived (e.g., negative public perception of a hamlet with 460,000 volts of electricity pulsing under its roads and beach; negative reputational impact) with the associated economic knock-on effects to the tourist, second-home industry and housing values
  • Deepwater desire to land at Beach Lane is solely driven by cost rather than a comparison of sites on the merits
  • Moreover, the Hamlet of Wainscott itself is already shouldering a disproportionate set of burdens for our broader community. Examples include: (A) The Town had to declare a State of Emergency for water due to toxic chemicals from the airport. (B) We bear the brunt of noise and disturbance from the airport.


Deepwater’s current plans are much larger and intrusive than the proposal you heard about and then barely approved. The Town Board originally voted for a 90 MW, 15-turbine wind farm with a 138,000 volt-line being dug through Wainscott. The project was for the benefit of East Hampton. It was purportedly required in lieu of a build-out of power infrastructure to meet peak demand by the Long Island Power Authority.

Serious legal issues exist as to as to whether the resolution even covers this expansion.

Deepwater more than doubled the infrastructure

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 undisclosed plans. Deepwater in its October 2018 filings with the BOEM:

  • Divulged it now would run powerlines twice as powerful on Wainscott Beach, Beach Lane and other local Wainscott roads than originally planned and communicated to all parties (including the New York State Public Service Commission several weeks earlier). Deepwater subtly amended its filings to:

– Double the capacity of its ‘export’ line: It will now be 230,000 volts, rather than its originally communicated and agreed-upon 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;

  • Admitted for the first time it will need to dig at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers (the smallest is 26’4” x 9’4” x 10’) throughout Wainscott. For example, its construction plans show that four of these massive vaults alone would abut our beloved Lisa and Bill’s Fresh Vegetables farm stand;
  • 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 was contracted for or that the public was told during the many public meetings; and
  • Demonstrated that its Hither Hills route is superior to its desired Beach Lane plan.

The Town Board no longer knows the exact significantly expanded scope of the project. You wrote in your joint letter dated November 19 with the Town Trustees:

… an EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] must include a “description of the proposed action.” While this seems obvious, in the Construction and Operations Plan (“COP”) submitted by DWSF are conflicting descriptions of the elements of the Project. The May 2018 Offshore Electric and Magnetic Field Assessment (“OEMFA”) (Summary at p. x) is based on an offshore 138-kV South Fork Export Cable, but the October 2018 Essential Fish Habitat Assessment (Section 1.2) says the South Fork Export Cable Offshore and Onshore will be either 138 kV or 230 kV. The COP states that the Project includes up to 15 wind turbine generators (WTGs or turbines) with a nameplate capacity of 6 to 12 MW per turbine. That translates to a project of up to 180 MW. There must be a definitive statement from DWSF as to the maximum size of each Project element for any legitimate review to occur. In addition, the height of the towers and the size of the cable corridors need to be identified.[5]

The Town Zoning Board of Appeals or Architectural Review Board would never approve plans if it did not understand what was actually planned. Accordingly, the July action should be reconsidered based on the information that is now available to you.

Additional facts have emerged

Many other facts on the ground have changed. Among them:

  • Deepwater’s own filings demonstrate (a) significant concerns with the Beach Lane landfall site and (b) its inferiority versus Hither Hills, including, but not limited to, land use and environmental/cultural considerations. In documents and analyses not submitted to the BOEM, but sent to the N.Y. PSC in mid-September, Deepwater noted significant advantages of Hither Hills:[6]
Considerations Beach Lane Hither Hills
Dwellings within 500 feet of Landing Site



Landing Site Property within or adjacent to NYS Ag & Mkts-Certified Ag. District Lands



Landing Site within or adjacent to Active Farm Field



Landing Site w/in FEMA 100-year floodplains



Potential Rare, Threatened, or Endangered Species at Landing Site as indicated by the NYNHP



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[7]

~10 feet

~50 feet

  • Much greater overall windfarm. New York State two weeks ago communicated the wind farm could be up to 26 times larger (2,400 MW v. the 90 MW you voted on). Deepwater said it was ‘all in.’ This raises serious issues for the impact on Wainscott and East Hampton, particularly given that assurances were given that the power from the project was only designed for East Hampton.
  • Deepwater submitted incomplete data and erroneous ‘science’ to justify the safety of the public, animals and nature. Your joint statement with the Town Trustees wrote, “Yet, there are clear gaps between the submitted information and what is minimally acceptable. For example, the noise study states … Furthermore the submitted studies do not appear to be coordinated …”[8] Even the National Defense Resources Council, which is supportive of wind power generally and the South Fork Wind Farm, has some scathing comments, including, “In the case of noise impacts on marine mammals, ranked as potentially having a major impact, the provided protection measures in the COP will not be strong enough to ensure adequate protection of marine mammals, particularly given that the North Atlantic right whale is predicted to become functionally extinct within the next few decades.” The American Bird Conservancy wrote on Nov. 19, 2018, “In its current state, the avian risk assessment [written by Deepwater in its COP] draws arbitrary conclusions that are not justified through literature or quantitative analysis. Its conclusions are based on outdated literature, at best, and do not include current site-specific analysis of collision modeling or displacement vulnerability, particularly given updated parameters from recent publications (e.g., Johnston and Cook 2016, Loring et al. 2018 and in review, Skov et al. 2018).”[9]
  • Ownership has changed.E. Shaw just sold its entire South Fork Wind business interests to a foreign company, Orsted. No information has been provided regarding their commitment to the project (or safety record).


In the face of the substantial amount of new information (and, practically, the narrow reach of July’s 2018-888 resolution), we request that the Town Board immediately halt the current negotiations with Deepwater and recall its intent to grant an easement to Deepwater for Beach Lane. You now see the overwhelming objection of the Wainscott community, including the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee. We now know the adverse direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on recreation and tourism, economy, and environment onshore in Wainscott alone from any size project. We now know the project is at least double what you were told initially. We now also know that Hither Hills is not just a viable alternative, but a preferable route based on the above analysis of the data Deepwater filed.

Time is of the essence given the negative overhang of Deepwater. Home owners, for example, who are currently selling or are considering selling their properties may face a ‘Deepwater Discount.’ Inaction has a price for them. The Town and community is also injured: Every 5 percent discount translates into ~$3,600 less in transfer taxes per transaction for the essential Peconic Land Trust’s Community Preservation Fund. Commercial property owners with leases coming due may face difficulties filling spaces or depressed rents and travel-related businesses may face decreased cash flow.

Warmest regards, particularly during this holiday season,

Gouri Edlich             Alexander Edlich
P.O. Box 816
Wainscott, New York 11975

Enclosures (3)

CC:   Carole A. Brennan, Town of East Hampton, Town Clerk
Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of East Hampton Members of the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee (via electronic mail)
New York State Public Service Commission (via electronic mail)
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (via electronic mail)
Daniel Spitzer, Hodgson Russ LLP (via electronic mail)
Mila Buckner, Hodgson Russ LLP (via electronic mail)
John Wagner, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP (via electronic mail)
Anne Molloy, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP (via electronic mail)

[1]    DWSF, Construction and Operations Plan submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, p. 2-15, emphasis added, at

[2]    DWSF, Article VII Application filing to the N.Y. Public Service Commission, South Fork Export Cable, Exhibit 3: Alternatives, p. 3-13, emphasis added at{666D3415-39DD-4A0F-8A70-002160339858}

[3] Edlich, Letter to BOEM, Nov. 19, 2018, at

[4]    Town of East Hampton, Wainscott Hamlet Report (a.k.a. Wainscott Hamlet Study), January 30, 2018, p. 30, available at Emphasis added in italics

[5]    Town Board and Town Trustees, “Joint Comments of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonality of the Town of East Hampton and the Town of East Hampton regarding minimum elements that must be addressed in the Deepwater Wind South Fork Environmental Impact Statement,” November 19, 2018, pp. 3-4, available at

[6]    South Fork Export Cable, Exhibit 3, Alternatives, p. 3-10, available at{666D3415-39DD-4A0F-8A70-002160339858}

[7]    Deepwater submission to the Bureau of Ocean Management, May 30, 2018, Vol. II, Appendix G-3: Sea-to-Shore Conceptual Drawings, pp. 7 (Beach Lane) and p. 10 (Hither Hills) available at

[8]   Town Board and Town Trustees, “Joint Comments of the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonality of the Town of East Hampton and the Town of East Hampton regarding minimum elements that must be addressed in the Deepwater Wind South Fork Environmental Impact Statement,” November 19, 2018, p. 6 at

[9]     William Yancy Brown, Chief Environmental Officer, American Bird Conservancy, “Letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” November 19, 2018 at