On behalf of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt, we want to alert everyone to the newest threat to the Long Pond Greenbelt, the 1,100-acre nature preserve that Southampton Town, Suffolk County and The Nature Conservancy have spent tens of millions of dollars over four decades to protect. Its unique coastal plains pond ecosystem supports one of the highest concentrations of rare flora and fauna in New York State.
PSEG Long Island is proposing to drill an underground 69kv transmission cable along the existing Long Island Power Authority easement east of the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. The horizontal directional drilling will pass between Long Pond, Deer Drink and Crooked Pond — in the very heart of the greenbelt.
PSEG/LIPA has just released to the public the draft environmental impact statement to justify this route and to explain how they intend to remediate the endangered Eastern tiger salamander habitat and vernal pond through which they will be drilling.
West of the turnpike, in the Great Swamp complex, 1 acre of land will be cleared to stage the equipment needed for the directional horizontal drilling (also known as fracking), disrupting another vernal pond and wetland preserved by the Community Preservation Fund.
Fifteen gallons of liquid waste/slurry will be generated each day. According to the report, PSEG and the State Department of Environmental Conservation are planning for any unexpected occurrences, or “frac-outs,” where slurry is released into the wetlands. If there is any chance of an unexpected occurrence, should this risk be taken?
There exists an alternative proposed route that would take this underground cable south along the turnpike and east along Montauk Highway. Yes, it will cost more, but, more crucially, it will not be a threat to the Long Pond Greenbelt.
The PSEG/LIPA easements were established long before zoning laws and land-use regulations were adopted to protect the environment. These old easements allowed for above-ground transmission lines but carried no underground rights. In order to proceed with this project, PSEG/LIPA must acquire such rights from landowners along the right-of-way. These landowners include Southampton Town and Suffolk County, which have the ability to withhold underground rights.
If you share concerns about this project, you can help. For more details, the DEIS is available online at: psegliny.com/reliability/bridgetobuell.
Send letters to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and the Town Board, and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, asking them to not grant underground rights along the LIPA right-of-way.
And, please, attend the public meeting scheduled for June 28, 6:30 p.m., at LTV Studios in Wainscott.
Thank you for caring. Your voices are important to assure that the Long Pond Greenbelt will be protected.
Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt
One fine body…