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Feb 11, 2019 11:18 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bragman, Lys Again Object To Deepwater Approval

David Lys
Feb 12, 2019 12:42 PM

A new application by Deepwater Wind again split the East Hampton Town Board this week, with two members voting unsuccessfully to shoot down a request for soil sampling along the route through Wainscott that the potential power cable to the South Fork Wind Farm would follow.

As they were in a hotly debated vote last summer, Councilmen David Lys and Jeff Bragman were the dissenting minority in a 3-2 vote on Thursday night, February 7, granting the wind farm company permission to dig test holes into the ground at 50- to 100-foot intervals along the cable route from Beach Lane to the Long Island Power Authority’s East Hampton substation.

Mr. Bragman and Mr. Lys both argued that they thought the town should withhold granting permission until the state’s Public Service Commission’s application review for the landing of the power line has been completed.

Both men argued that with the Deepwater application seemingly still evolving, it would make sense for the town not to take any steps to “jump-start” work on the project.

“For every month that goes by, we learn more about this application and the details that it entails,” Mr. Bragman said. “I think it sends the wrong message. It’s premature.”

Mr. Lys also said he’d rather wait to give Deepwater further approvals until after the state review process, known as Article 7 review, has progressed. “I’d rather wait and see if Article 7 tells us exactly what to do, as far as what information they should be gathering,” he said.

Deepwater had asked for permission to dig a series of holes on the shoulder of the roadways the cable would be running beneath, if the entirety of the project is approved and built, to take “geotechnical” and archaeological samples. The testing would sample soils and test how rapidly water percolates into the ground. The holes would be dug by hand, to depths of up to 4 feet, and would be immediately filled in once the findings were recorded.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said that she saw the work that Deepwater wants to do as important information-gathering to better inform the Article 7 process, and possibly the potential for the Wainscott route to be used at all.

“We may learn that this is the exact wrong location,” she said. “It may take it off the table completely.”

“I see no problem with having more information,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.

The supervisor said the reason Deepwater is seeking the approval now is so that it can do its digging in March, rather than during the busier seasons when narrow local roads will have more cars on them.

Mr. Bragman and Mr. Lys had been the two “no” votes in July when the board voted on a “memorializing” resolution that pledged the board’s general support for the South Fork Wind Farm power cable coming ashore in Wainscott and running beneath town roads to the East Hampton substation. Negotiations of the details of the lease agreements between Deepwater and both the Town Board and the Town Trustees are continuing.

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