A group of Wainscott residents have filed a court motion to block construction of underground cables connecting the state’s first offshore wind farm while lawsuits involving the project are pending.
The group Citizens for the Preservation for Wainscott filed the motion in the State Appellate Division on Dec. 20 seeking to block construction of the on-land portion of the South Fork Wind Farm which would run underground cables through their neighborhood.
The group said in its motion a high-voltage cable under Wainscott Beach and the hamlet’s roads could disrupt the “bucolic environment” of the neighborhood and cause “irreparable environmental damage.”
It contends there are better routes, including through Hither Hills State Park, that would not run under residential neighborhoods. The developers have long-maintained Beach Lane is the preferable route despite years of opposition from the residents.
“We are the only party who hired independent environmental, engineering and transmission experts who have laid out alternatives that avoid residential neighborhoods,” group spokesman Michael McKeon of the public strategy firm Mercury said in a news release. “But the rush to get this project completed simply to say ‘we were first’ has forced us to take this step. We continue to believe a fair hearing on the merits will result in a better project that we can all support.”
Representatives from wind farm developers Orsted and Eversource and the state Public Service Commission both declined to comment.
The public service commission in March approved the developer’s application – which included signatures from several state agencies, East Hampton Town, environmental groups and other stakeholders – to construct the 7.6 miles of cable. The commission has said the project, expected to begin next month, has been thoroughly vetted and avoids adverse environmental impacts.
Wind energy is seen as a critical part of New York’s climate initiative, which has a stated goal of some 9,000 megawatts of wind power by 2035.
The group said any future court decision rendered in their favor could be meaningless without a stay of the work.
The Wainscott group in September filed a lawsuit against the state Public Service Commission for approving the project. A separate lawsuit filed against East Hampton Town over its approval of allowing the work on public roads is still pending.
Under state law an aggrieved party must bring an action against the public service commission directly to the Appellate Division rather than state Supreme Court.
The 15-turbine 132-megawatt project 35 miles east of Montauk Point is expected to be completed in 2023.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding