Library filed under Offshore Wind from New York
Other residents, like Michael Wootton of Wainscott, were concerned the project was far more extensive than what they were privy to. The fear is that what BOEM is considering has doubled in size since it was first proposed, laying the groundwork for a larger plan. The plan submitted to BOEM suggests the project has grown to a 180-megawatt wind farm with two 230-kilovolt transmission cables coming to shore or to potentially an offshore substation.
The South Fork commercial fishing industry remains opposed to Deepwater Wind’s proposed offshore wind farm, and now several hundred Wainscott residents have opened another hostile front, this one specific to the Rhode Island company’s preferred cable-landing site, the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane in their hamlet.
In the coming years, ratepayers across the state will see their electric bills increase by at least 76 cents a month to finance $2.1 billion of offshore wind development in New York. And that's on top of the roughly $2 per month increase in electric bills needed to finance a multi-billion dollar bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants -- two in Oswego County on the shores of Lake Ontario and another near Rochester.
Deepwater spokesperson Meaghan Whims cited the recent unanimous support of the Trustees for hiring a municipal contract attorney to represent the board in the negotiations of the lease, and said the company has taken it as a sign that the Trustees ultimately expect to hammer out an agreement with Deepwater—though she acknowledged that the application with the state also will account for the possibility that one or both of the town entities will balk when it comes to signing actual contracts.
Deepwater, all the attendees agreed, has been putting out misinformation and selling the town and the public a bill of goods. “It’s all about money,” said Brady, the Executor Director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and a vociferous critic. She believes the wind generators will harm the fish supply in a number of ways, not only putting fishermen out of business but also robbing us of a food supply. “They get the tax credits. They don’t care,” she said.
“Deepwater is looking for us to memorialize a lease agreement, but we don’t think we have enough details about what that entails to do that yet,” Mr. Bock said. “The town did road easements with them, and there’s probably a template for that, but we don’t have anything like that for landing a cable at a public beach. What if the cable becomes exposed? What about the concerns of EMFs and fish migrations? Those are major concerns for us. I and some other Trustees think we can probably deal with some of that within the lease.”
[N]ot everyone out here is impressed by Deepwater’s plans, or by Grybowski, or his whale. “The only thing green about this project is the money that’s going to end up in a bunch of hedge funders’ pockets,” says Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, who has been battling the plan since it was announced in July of 2016. “We don’t know what these windmills, or their high-powered transmission lines, will do to our fish. All we’re asking is, let’s take time to do this right, not rush it.”
Feds sought to help New York's wind initiatives
The Trustees are expected to hold an executive session during a meeting next Monday to discuss hiring special counsel to represent the body in negotiations over a community benefits package being floated by Deepwater Wind in connection to a request by the firm to land the South Fork Wind Farm power cable off Beach Lane in Wainscott. In order to do that, Deepwater Wind needs to secure easements from both the East Hampton Town Board and East Hampton Town Trustees.
New York state ratepayers will pick up the tab for the Cuomo Administration’s multi-billion dollar plan to jump-start the offshore wind industry, but most won’t benefit from the energy produced. Only consumers in Long Island and New York City will be able to access the wind-powered energy that’s going to be generated in the waters off the state’s Atlantic coast in the years to come.
The East Hampton Town Board last week pledged to grant Deepwater Wind an easement to lay power cables beneath town roads between Wainscott and a power substation off Buell Lane near East Hampton Village.
Newsday reported the project would add about $4 a month to the average electric bill. But there are automatic increases built in for 20 years, according to published reports, that will raise the price significantly above 20 cents a megawatt. Brady said that would make the price of energy “astronomical” to PSEG users.
“They are stealing our fishing grounds by placing them on our place of work. They are industrializing the ocean floor,” said Bonnie Brady, the executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. ...Any discussion about mitigating the effect the wind turbines have on fish so they can coexist is ludicrous. “It’s like putting a junkyard in the middle of a farm field,” he said. “The noise and sounds aren’t natural to what has been going on for a million years.”
Representatives of the commercial fishing industry worried about the potential impact on their industry if the federal government selects sites off eastern Long Island's southern coast for wind farm development.
Governor asks feds for six-month extension to assess impact of offshore wind farms on state’s main fishing grounds wind. ...The request, if granted, could slow recent steps taken by both states to expedite building offshore wind farms in waters near New York and New Jersey.
“We know the moment [the federal government] gets a taste of wind farms in the Atlantic, we are going to be playing whack-a-mole with energy and oil companies creeping up on our fishing grounds,” Bonnie Brady said at a presentation by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, on Monday night at the Southampton Inn.
Philip E. Karmel, a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner who has analyzed the case, said that if the scallopers win, the impact will depend on what remediation the judge orders. “The case could potentially be quite important if the court holds that BOEM’s leasing procedures do not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act,” he said. “That would require a new set of leasing procedures and it could result in delays in the rollout of offshore wind turbines.”
Off New York's Long Island, an organization representing East Coast scallopers has sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to try to halt a proposal for a nearly 200-turbine wind farm. Commercial fishermen in Maryland's Ocean City and North Carolina's Outer Banks have also sounded the alarm about losing access to fishing grounds.
At the harbor management committee meeting, Dan Farnham Sr., a Montauk fisherman, warned that those mats pose a clear hazard and predicted that for trawl fishermen, transiting through the wind farm at night or in inclement weather would be too dangerous. “When you get hung up . . . on the bottom, especially in rough weather, it can be life-threatening,” he said. “You lose your maneuverability to control the vessel in heavy weather. If you were in the wind farm . . . and you get hung up, and your trawl gear is a third of a mile behind the boat, you have absolutely no control about where that vessel is going to drift to while you’re trying to get unhung.”