Deepwater Wind has filed an Article VII application with the state, seeking approval to run a power line from its offshore wind farm yet to be built off Montauk and connect it to an existing substation on Cove Hollow Road in East Hampton.
Deepwater wanted easements for the project, dubbed the South Fork Wind farm, to allow the cable to come onshore on Beach Lane in Wainscott. The East Hampton Town Board, after some delay and by a split vote, “memorialized” its intention to grant an easement.
The Town Trustees, however, hopelessly deadlocked, could not reach an agreement. With time flying and already behind its stated goal of filing by June 30, Deepwater opted to enter the process without the easement in hand. Instead the trustees intend to participate in the Article VII process as an intervener.
Towards that purpose, the trustees have hired Dan Spitzer of the Albany based law firm Hodgson Russ LLP Albany. Spitzer concentrates his practice on issues involving environmental law, renewable energy, sustainable development, land use law, municipal law, and real estate development. His practice “involves numerous renewable energy projects, including representing municipalities, developers, land owners, and financing entities,” according to the company website.
The town board also intends to monitor the state review. The town has retained John Wagner of Certilman Balin Adler Hyman LLP in Hauppauge. Wagner, a partner in the Land Use and Zoning, Environmental Law, and Litigation Practice Groups at the firm “brings over 30 years of real property, land use, environmental, and litigation experience to the firm. He represents private clients, from individual landowners to multi-state development companies, as well as municipalities,” according to the company website.
Deepwater submitted a detailed route plan for the underground pipe that will run from Beach Lane to the substation should that plan be approved. It differs slightly from one presented to the town and the press. In the Article VII filing, Deepwater was veered off course with the route the underground cable will be buried.
Clint Plummer, VP/development for Deepwater, told the town board and press the route. Once ashore, the cable would be buried under Beach Lane, Wainscott Main Street, Wainscott Stone Road, and Hedges Lane to the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Wainscott, where it would run east to connect to the substation.
In the filing however, Hedges Lane has been removed. The proposed route now reads, “to Wainscott Northwest Road and travels approximately 1.1 miles, generally northwest past Montauk Highway/State Route 27 to the LIRR.”
That would mean the East Hampton Town Police station would come into play at some point.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said Deepwater has discussed the alternate route on occasion, however, “DWW has represented for some time that there are two potential routes through Wainscott, Hedges Lane and Wainscott Northwest Road,” he said.
“Due to potential ownership questions of Hedges Lane, they have included Wainscott Northwest as an alternative route,” Van Scoyoc added.
Van Scoyoc did not say if the police were informed of the change. Police Chief Michael Sarlo did not return calls.
Deepwater continues to press hard for “confidential treatment” of certain information critics say should be common knowledge. A law firm hired by Deepwater urges the state to allow, “trade secrets which discussed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position,” to remain confidential.
Critics say the true cost of the project to rate holders cannot be calculated without certain information. Deepwater has said certain public officials have signed nondisclosure forms agreeing not to share this type of sensitive information but has not identified who signed. Van Scoyoc says he didn’t.
Critics say judging from the Article VII language burying the cable will be more disruptive than originally stated. Rights of way to install the cable could be between 35 to 75 feet wide — perhaps too wide for police vehicles to pass. That would mean patrol cars and other police department vehicles would have to take a circuitous route by the airport when answering emergency calls.
Deepwater also appears to greatly expand, “laydown and staging areas” that may be used while the onshore cable is being buried. The potential total area is now estimated to, “not exceed five acres” and include, “work trailers, power transformers, steel framing, reels of cable, etc.”
“Originally they told us it would be a manhole cover,” said Bonne Brady, who represents commercial fishing interests that also intend to carry “Intervener” status into the hearings.
The company has said the review of the applications is expected to take two years and construction of the turbines another two years.
Should the Beach Lane entry point be rejected, Deepwater officials declined phone and email requests for comment.