Assemblyman has chilly response to Deepwater overture

Thiele Wants Transparency

Assemblyman Fred Thiele said this week he isn’t ready to make nice with the offshore wind company that wants to bring an electric cable into Wainscott.

Two weeks ago, Thiele withdrew his support for Deepwater Wind/Ørsted. He said he had reversed his position and now opposed the South Fork Wind Farm, a 15-turbine installation proposed by Deepwater to be constructed approximately 35 miles off Montauk.

Thiele’s statement cited what he called “the classic ‘bait and switch’” on the part of its developer, Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind, formerly Deepwater Wind. He had given the project his qualified support last year.

A spokesman for Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind said the company was befuddled by Thiele’s statement. Since then, Deepwater has undergone another management change and is now called Ørsted/Eversource. By any other name, though, Thiele is still maintaining a safe distance.

“When I sought a meeting to discuss their failures to be open and transparent, my requests were ignored by Deepwater representatives, despite the fact that I had been a vocal advocate for their project moving forward so that we all could assess the merits. I have always responded to their requests to meet. They misled the media about all of this,” Thiele said.

The assemblyman said the most important thing going forward is transparency. “The truth is, Deepwater has not always been transparent or open about its project, either with the community at large or with elected officials,” he said.

“There are several companies who will likely bid on the upcoming 800MW NYSERDA solicitation. We will be required to trust these companies with our ocean, our beaches, and our quality of life, which we have invested decades of effort and millions of dollars to protect. I think it is imperative that any successful proposer not only have the best energy project, but also be able to prove to the community that they possess the proven corporate ethics to ensure that they will be open, honest, and transparent about all aspects of their proposal with the public,” Thiele said.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com