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Detailing South Fork Wind Farm Impact

Thu, 04/22/2021 - 18:12

The developers of the South Fork Wind farm filed an Environmental Management and Construction Plan for the proposed installation with the New York State Public Service Commission on Tuesday.

The plan is a requirement under the commission's review process for applications to construct and operate a major electrical transmission facility. Its filing follows the commission's granting, last month, of a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the project. It pertains to the portion of the wind farm that will lie in state waters or on land -- its export cable and underground interconnection facilities.

The plan describes the construction procedures and environmental protection measures proposed for the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of the project, including construction methods and notifications, vegetation removal, traffic management, noise minimization, water quality standards, and protection of rare, threatened, and endangered species.

The wind farm's export cable is to make landfall at the ocean beach at the end of Beach Lane in Wainscott, from where it will travel on a subterranean path to a Long Island Power Authority substation in East Hampton.

The plan, a spokeswoman for Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Eversource Energy said, accounts for the more than 200 conditions agreed to during the Public Service Commission's settlement process based on stakeholders' feedback.

East Hampton Town and the town trustees have agreed to easements and permits allowing the wind farm's export cable to make landfall at a trustee-owned beach as well as its burial on the path to the substation. The project, which remains under federal review, could be operational at the end of 2023.

At their meeting on April 12, the trustees considered a draft fisheries study that the wind farm's developers submitted as part of the Environmental Management and Construction Plan.

The five-year study is to include two years of pre-construction studies to commence this spring, one year during construction, and two years post-construction. "So we should have a really clear picture," Mila Buckner, an outside counsel engaged by the trustees, said of the marine environment ahead of the wind farm's construction, the impact during construction, and whether and how the ecosystem recovered or fish migration patterns were altered afterward.

A formal report of findings is to be issued in the fourth quarter of each year of the study. "This is a certificate condition coming to life," Ms. Buckner told the trustees.

The submission triggered a 45-day comment period. Comments can be submitted to the Hon. Michelle Phillips, Secretary of the Commission, New York State Department of Public Service, 3 Empire Plaza, Albany 12223-1350. Comments can also be submitted by calling 518-474-6530 or emailing [email protected]


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