Many Rally for Burying Power Lines

Town slapped PSEG Long Island with stop-work order at its Amagansett substation on Friday
Morgan McGivern

Some 200 people, including State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, and East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., gathered at the Hook Mill green in East Hampton Saturday afternoon for a rally to demand that PSEG Long Island bury high-voltage electrical transmission lines between East Hampton Village and Amagansett.

The rally was organized by Save East Hampton, a group of residents who have led the efforts against the utility project.

Public officials spoke of East Hampton's history of successful fights against other controversial utility and energy projects -- from the Shoreham nuclear power plant to offshore oil drilling -- and vowed to continue their efforts to see the power lines buried and the new, taller poles removed. Mr. Thiele and Mr. Cantwell voiced strong criticism of PSEG, and of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for failing to respond to East Hampton's concerns. Mr. Rickenbach said the protesters had the full support of the village board.

The village board members Barbara Borsack and Richard Lawler and town board members Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby were also in attendance. The Ladies Village Improvement Society, which recently announced its support for burying the lines, was well represented, too. The L.V.I.S. cares for East Hampton's street trees and is angry at how the utility has handled tree trimming by the power lines

Many residents have also criticized PSEG for work over the winter at its Old Stone Highway, Amagansett, substation, calling it "awful" and "an eyesore." At the rally, Mr. Cantwell announced that on Friday the town had issued PSEG a stop-work order at the Amagansett substation. Once largely shielded from view by thick vegetation, the substation property is now ringed by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire with no shrubs or bushes to disguise it. The town believes the project should have been subjected to site plan review before the East Hampton Town Planning Board and should have required a building permit.  

Durell Godfrey