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Jul 16, 2019 5:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Asks For More Information On Environmental Factors In Deepwater Wind Review

Jul 16, 2019 5:24 PM

The State Department of Environmental Conservation has spotlighted concerns about extensive additional information that must be provided by Deepwater Wind before its application for the landing of the power cable to the South Fork Wind Farm can be fully assessed by the state’s Public Service Commission.

In official comments posted to the PSC’s website portal for the Deepwater Wind application, the state’s environmental management authority outlined nearly two dozen points of information that it said the Deepwater Wind application is still lacking, from the abundance of certain fish species and endangered or protected whales, to impacts on various ecological features in the project area, and the presence of endangered plants and animals on land as well.

“[The DEC] notes that application lacks certain information for [the DEC] to fully assess the nature and extent of the potential environmental impacts from the project, as well as compliance with all applicable environmental statutes and regulations,” the comments from the agency posted on the PSC’s public file of the Deepwater Wind application review say.

The state points to numerous fish species, from apex predators like white sharks down to blowfish, that should be specifically accounted for in the application. The agency pointed out that four species of endangered or threatened whales, four sea turtle species and two endangered fish species are known to transit the area through which the undersea cable will run, and that a broad number of threatened or endangered plant species are found along the onshore cable route—all of which should be addressed specifically in explanations of “avoidance” plans.

A spokesperson for Deepwater Wind and its parent company, Ørsted, said that the project team was expecting requests for more information from the state agency and is reviewing the DEC’s comments and will respond soon with the information the agency is seeking.

On Tuesday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said that East Hampton Town should be doing its own analysis of the application to see if there is any information or planning details that it wishes to see in the project plan, before a November deadline for input to the PSC. Mr. Van Scoyoc suggested that the town may want to hire a consultant to help it parse what information may be lacking.

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