Wealthy Hamptons neighbors are at war over a cable from new wind farm with Estee Lauder’s chief, actress Edie Falco and a reality star leading the resistance.
New York state on Thursday gave its approval to the proposed South Fork Wind farm with the Public Service Commission voting unanimously in its favor.
But some of those living in Wainscott – where an underground cable is planned as part of the farm – argue the plans could ‘erode their beach and cause noise’ when it is laid.
They pledged to continue to fight to stop the proposal in its current form, 27east reported Thursday. The wind turbines would be built off Montauk, not Wainscott. But an underground cable needed for the farm would run under the latter.
The protesters who live in Wainscott, where homes can easily set you back in the tens of millions – said the cable is both a fire and ‘electromagnetic fields’ risk and could cause noise and fumes during the building process.
Among those to sign a 2018 petition against the cable was Sopranos’ star Edie Falco, banker Daniel Neidich, and Real Housewives of New York Barbara Kavovit.
Kavovit is now running for mayor of New York City. Billionaire Ronald Lauder and marketing guru Faith Popcorn also oppose the cable.
In support of the farm by Danish company Ørsted – which would be behind the state’s first offshore wind farm – is Peter Van Scoyoc, East Hampton town supervisor.
He told The Guardian: ‘It has got poisonous. We are a tight-knit community and there have been disagreements in the past, but they haven’t been personalized like they are now.
‘This group claim to support the project but want it to be in someone else’s neighborhood. Nimby-ism is an acronym I’ve heard used.’
Retired lawyer Jerry Mulligan also supports the proposal. He said he tries ‘not to talk about the issue’ with his tennis partner, who is against it.
He said: ‘My hope is that the Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott folds its tent and goes away. But some of these people have big bucks and they aren’t used to losing. So who knows.’
The battle has led to lawsuits and the hiring of lobbyists.
Chair of Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, Gouri Edlich, said Van Scoyoc has ‘simply turned over our beach and our rural community to this multinational developer’.
In its first year the group has raised $1 million. It has also spent hundreds of thousands on a top PR firm. They even filed a lawsuit against the town, South Fork Wind and Van Scoyoc.
The group’s website reads : ‘Without additional community action, foreign-owned Deepwater Wind LLC will land its 138,000-volt electric cable on Wainscott Beach (aka Beach Lane) and then run energized lines Wainscott.
‘While we are very supportive of alternative energy sources (e.g., wind, solar) and conservation, installing permanent power line infrastructure in the water and on land (including at least 20 permanent vaults the size of ocean shipping containers along the land route) will permanently alter an already fragile, eroding beach and community.’
Experts say the pipe will be 30 feet underground once installed. Cristina Archer, from the University of Delawar, said the construction noise will be ‘temporary and low-risk’.
President Joe Biden has vowed to double offshore wind production by 2030 as part of his administration’s efforts to slow climate change.
As president Donald Trump frequently derided wind power as an expensive, bird-slaughtering way to make electricity, and his administration resisted or opposed wind projects nationwide.
Offshore wind development is still in its infancy in the U.S., far behind progress made by countries in Europe.
The renewable energy industry believes the Biden administration presents a huge opportunity for growth, especially in expediting offshore wind projects the industry has long sought.
“The offshore industry is on the point of taking off,” said Amy Farrell, a senior vice president of the American Clean Power Association, a trade group for renewable energy.
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