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Letters to the Editor for March 31, 2022

Wed, 03/30/2022 - 17:45

There to Comfort Us
East Hampton
March 22, 2022

To the Editor,

In light of our family’s recent loss, John’s fight with Alzheimer’s started many years ago, and as time went by a number of people and organizations were there to comfort us all. We’d be remiss if we didn’t take a moment to try and acknowledge them all.

It is with profound appreciation that we thank the East Hampton Village and Town Police Departments, East Hampton Volunteer Ambulance, East Hampton Fire Department, Rob Balnis, the East Hampton Lions Club, East End Hospice, Dr. Michael Genereux, Ken Yardley of Yardley and Pino, and Phil Schook of UPS.

Additionally, we’d like to especially thank Conor and the staff at Park Place Chemists for their tireless efforts to ensure that John’s illness was managed in the most compassionate way possible, and always going above and beyond.

Last, but not least, we would like to thank our family and friends for their outpouring and continued support during the most heartbreaking of times. With your presence we were able to enjoy, remember, and make memories until the very end.

From our family to yours, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Respectfully,

MARJORIE DIAMOND

and the family of John Diamond

 

More Than an Eyesore
East Hampton
March 28, 2022

To the Editor:

The pine beetle has devastated the Northwest Woods in East Hampton. Take a look at Swamp Road near Route 114 or Two Holes of Water Road between number 190 and number 198 and number 208. The pines are dead, the bark is gone, the tree trunks are naked, so many of the trees have fallen.

This is more than just an eyesore: As the newspapers have reported, the danger of wildfires is real and would spread quickly among the dead trees, destroying homes and lives. The Town of East Hampton cut down many trees in the past, hoping to stop the beetle infestation, but it did not work; the beetles have spread rapidly.

Several homeowners on Two Holes of Water Road and elsewhere (some on long driveways) must remove the dead trees for safety’s sake. If left standing, the trees will soon fall, block driveways and roads, possibly fall on cars and houses, and are a fire hazard to the whole town.

There are hundreds of dead trees. Each homeowner will have to spend thousands of dollars.

 The town just spent $8 million on a piece of land next to Beyonce and Jay-Z, which no one sees, no one can use. How about helping the residents with the removal of the dead beetle-infested pines? Help with the cost. Help with the actual removal. Help!

JANE ADELMAN

 

Code Out of Date
Springs
March 27, 2022

Dear David,

To follow up on Paul Goldberger’s lament about the oversize houses proliferating out here, how about the excessive night lighting that goes along with these properties? I appreciated your editorial a few weeks ago about preserving our night sky, but it’s under constant assault these days in spite of our lighting code.

The town’s 2004 light code is woefully inadequate to deal with excessive night lighting and it is out of date to deal with the new technologies. Fortunately, there are many more “good” choices (fixtures, light sources, timers), as well as emerging health and environmental reports to address light pollution.

My hope is that East Hampton Town will amend the lighting code to address the myriad issues. Our code enforcement officers are doing the best they can with what they have on the books, but they need more to control the proliferation of excessive night lighting. (One recent complaint was addressed when the owner, who was in the city, was able to shut off the offending lights with her cellphone.) I highly recommend calling code enforcement to report perceived violations, and if they are not able, show up to help enact amendments to the code.

Unfortunately, the town has signed on to replace all the streetlights with LEDs, but without proper LED specifications, this situation will become even worse, not better. Cars have headlights that adequately light up streets. Streetlights should only be used for the safety of pedestrians in crosswalks and where cars are parked along streets. Other than that, it’s not just a waste of our tax dollars, but pollutes the night sky, obliterating the stars.

Respectfully,

SUSAN HARDER

New York State Representative

International Dark Sky Association

 

At Serious Risk
East Hampton Village
March 24, 2022

To the Editor,

I’m writing in support of Paul Goldberger’s letter to The Star from March 17. He eloquently lays out the problems of overdevelopment that are on their way to simply ruining one of the most beautiful and habitable areas in our entire country.

Surely much of this is the price of success, but the changes in the Town of East Hampton since I arrived in 1966 are becoming drastic and it is rapidly changing for the “no” good. I understand that the avalanche of money that falls on the East End every year can be mistaken for successful growth.

I hope it is not too late to genuinely preserve more than just the relics of the essence and beauty of East Hampton Town as well as much of the South Fork. It is the basic character of the town that is at serious risk.

FRED KOLO

 

Handy Lane
East Hampton
March 28, 2022

To the Editor,

I am appalled that I have to pen this note, but the ongoing building violations occurring at the new subdivision on Handy Lane in Amagansett is an outrage, an affront to my neighbors, and a blight on our neighborhood.

For those of us with adjoining properties, we know well the burden of construction permits, and yet this contractor, Salty Development, is blatantly violating these very building regulations in broad daylight. Shockingly, the Town of East Hampton and the Building Department have aided in this abuse of permitting transparency and have allowed for a suspicious approval process that disregards the approved site-use, and ignores the history and integrity of the neighborhood the town board was elected to uphold. Wanton disregard for the value and integrity of our neighborhoods cannot be allowed to continue.

ADAM ABELSON

 

Commercial Creeps
East Hampton
March 28, 2022

Dear Mr. Editor,

Hope everyone is well at The Star. As you may know, the commentary section of the paper is my favorite section — the March 17 edition was outstanding. The “No to Alcohol at Main Beach” was dead-on. Rony Marasca didn’t need alcohol to operate, and he was there forever. What birdbrain would want to mix adults with alcohol and kids with a frozen Milky Way?

The action of commercial creep by the commercial creeps should be nipped in the bud. If approved by Larsen’s army, then why not a beer wagon at Little League games or at the Nature Trail? I mean, where would you stop with this precedent? Financial needs of the concessionaire should not even be entertained.

Next, “Back in the Trade Parade” hit home, as I watch the onslaught of Van Scoyoc’s Army every day as I head west in the morning and the return to the east, as I head home in the late afternoon.

So I have a question for the genius who came up with the idea of storing commercial vehicles at the proposed commercial center in Wainscott: How do the workers get there from up west? Parachute in or drive there? Duh! And yes, you are correct that the root cause is overdevelopment. It is not just the root cause but the only cause. So come Election Day we need to go with the person who has the vision and the nerve to say, “No more.” We can only hope and pray.

Finally, “Rage Rover,” what is it with the people who drive those vehicles? I got quite the chuckle from the column, as I can relate, being in the automobile business. However, your writer forgot one trait, entitlement. Those people are exempt from any local motor vehicle laws. When confronted with a motor vehicle quagmire, they of course, rule.

As always, yours to command,

JEFFREY PLITT

 

Stop the Expansion
East Hampton
March 27, 2022

Dear Editor:

Please, whoever in the village gives a hoot about the diminishing pleasure of the Main Beach summer experience must stop the expansion of privilege for the food concession.

At Main Beach the focus for most people has been the sand and ocean. Beach snacks such as ice cream, fries, and sandwiches were welcome add-ons to the glorious outdoor fun. Everyone felt welcome to enjoy a respite from the sun under the wood-canopied deck. There were no menacing, “Reserved for Patrons Only” table placards, usurping most of the shaded tables even when there were no diners. There was no music via sound system providing a “Beat, Beat, Beat . . .” accompaniment to licking one’s ice cream cone or staring at the waves.

The possibility of allowing 8 a.m. breakfasting, even for those who have not paid the $530 toll for nonresidents, the probability of alcohol service and expanded dining hours, will not enhance the Main Beach experience.

A much more likely outcome is that we will lose the essence of why Main Beach once received the designation as one of the country’s best beaches, a pristine welcoming haven of sun and sand replete with a small, sheltered wood deck, where one could chat with friends or just quietly stare at the lapping waves and relax in serenity.

Sincerely,

ELAINE WEISS

 

A Lovely Spot
East Hampton
March 27, 2022

Dear Editor,

Hampton Chutney is a welcome addition to East Hampton Village. Along with serving delicious food and drink, it continues to provide a wholesome, friendly atmosphere for all. The picnic tables and benches provide a respite for train passengers, school students and staff, and pedestrians, as well as a lovely spot for those who wish to sit in the sun and enjoy a meal outdoors. There’s a strong feeling of community being created in this new location, as there was in Amagansett Square.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

KAREN MCKEE

MARGARET THOMPSON

 

Rent Was Due
Malibu, Calif.
March 21, 2022

To the Editor:

As the summer rental season approaches, we’d like to have an explanation as to what it means to have a signed rental agreement.

Last summer, we rented our home on Hampton Lane in Amagansett to a woman from Florida who had her Corcoran East Hampton agent look at it and evaluate it. The agent, Jennifer Hoopes, apparently loved it and recommended her client take it, as-is, from Memorial day to Labor Day and immediately drew up a contract for slightly more than the asking price. The agent made no suggestions of anything that needed to be done. She told everyone it’s perfect. Then the client moved in on Memorial Day weekend and immediately sent a list of allegedly unacceptable conditions, such as pollen on the outdoor lights, a chip on some dishware, etc. This culminated in a root that had slipped into a pipe in the ground, which McMahon Plumbing, our plumber for years, repaired immediately.

When the July rent was due, the tenant started making noise about not paying her rent, claiming the house had been uninhabitable. We had to basically beg for the rent, which was due on July 1 but not paid until the end of July.

When the August rent was due she refused to pay and hired a lawyer, suggesting we hire one, too. Why did we need a lawyer? We had a signed contract!

The Spitaleris stayed in the house all summer all the while declaring it “uninhabitable.” When we asked Corcoran’s general counsel, Andrew R. Levinson, to help, he said Corcoran had no standing and that we should hire a lawyer at our expense. This is grifting plain and simple, abetted by a subsidiary of Realogy, the company that holds Corcoran Group, which took its commission right off the top and left us high and dry.

So we ask again, what is the point of signing a contract if it’s not abided by? Is there is no protection for owners who in good faith rent their homes for the summer? We would strongly suggest anyone think twice before renting to the Spitaleris and their attorney Tina Palazzo, who advised them to walk away.

RUTH and ERIC PREVEN

 

All the Channels
Springs
March 25, 2022

Hello Editor David,

When my 22-year-old son, Paul, returned last week for spring break from Stony Brook University, where he’s studying math and statistics for his graduate degree, I surprised him with a Roku stick, a small device which connects to a TV set, allowing anyone to watch thousands of movies, documentaries, and TV shows, on-demand, by simply searching the show’s title. Hopefully, we’d share bags of Movie Theater Butter and Pop Secret, binging all week on episodes of “Family Matters” and “Laverne and Shirley.”

“Did I do that?” I quickly blurted, mimicking Steve Urkel’s catch-phrase.

Paul had different plans.

“I’m gonna tryout for “Jeopardy’s” college version,” he stoically said. “I need to watch past episodes of the show.”

And proudly, I turned on, with their supplied, many-buttons remote control, the Roku channel, then majestically stood in front of our 52-inch TV screen and proceeded to give him a teacher-like tutorial on how to search for TV shows, slowly pointing at and explaining all the channels available: MTV, CNN, Disney Plus.

“That tiny, tiny, little circle in the corner is their search engine,” I said. “All you need to do is type in a few of the show’s first letters, and by magic, the show appears. Fascinating!” I gleefully proclaimed.

“Dad,” he solemnly answered, “I’m taking advanced classes in math for my master’s degree, so I’m pretty sure I can figure out your little Roku toy.”

And at that moment, I sadly realized, my 22-year-old son was no longer 2.

FRANK VESPE

 

On Bus 79
Boston
February 2, 2022

To the Editor,

Re: Gog and Magog, Checkpoint Charlie. Romance and adventure of the Caspian Mountains and quiet flows the Don.

Dear student of your 70s, Bus 76-77-78, Minute Man, and Harvard. On Bus 79. For those with dementia. James Webb telescope is parked. James Webb lyrics, “MacArthur Park.” At 80, Moses climbed Mount Sinai.

GEORGE RICHERT

 

How Do You Feel?
East Hampton
March 27, 2022

Dear David,

What a person says matters and delivery is everything. People may not remember exactly what you said, but they will remember how it made them feel. How do you feel when you’re disrespected? Good — or bad? The latter makes sense even if you have a thick skin. Water off a duck’s ass may be apropos in certain circumstances, but not when you hold a title in the high court of the land. Don’t call yourself a justice and don’t consider yourself a real man or woman when you insult a woman’s intelligence and try to demean her because you have a political or religious agenda. For shame!

What was done to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was beyond reprehensible. Before you put down your coffee or Scotch to type a rebuttal like, “Well they did it to Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the groper bad boy Justice Brett Kavanaugh, blah, blah,” uh, not quite. Neither suffered such glaring disrespect. The questions asked of them were for good reason — they both had agendas. Barrett with her Christian right cult and Kavanaugh, the right’s boy, no matter his alleged crime. Anyway, Jackson will be justice and she triumphed over the likes of the embarrassing ones and tantrum-throwers. Well done, she.

The devastation and attack on Ukraine by the narcissist who is stuck in an old regime in his head, Putin, will hopefully come to the end of his terror reign, sooner than later. I don’t blame Biden for losing his shit on national TV. At least he has a spine and empathy. He isn’t taking this lying down, nor is he going to knee-jerk into a situation we can’t control or come back from. Half the population in this country doesn’t remember air raids or drills under the desk, or what we New Yorkers experienced as our city was attacked on 9/11, especially out here where we often live in a protected bubble and the other half of the population is senile, I guess. It is never simple for a president to make a hard decision, especially when dealing with someone who doesn’t care about his own people, as Putin clearly does not. They are controlled so he can win what he wants: absolute power and imperialism. Imagine, there is a tech group fighting to get the truth out to counter Putin’s silencing the truth. Thank goodness. May they succeed. The truth will out; I firmly believe that.

May wise heads prevail. We need them. Watch a Winston Churchill film or check out his speech on the “iron curtain”: It is riveting. I’ll leave you with part of that speech: “Now I come to the second danger which threatens the ordinary people — namely tyranny. . . . Freedom of speech and thought should reign. . . . The communist parties are seeking to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in every case. . . . If the Western Democracies divide and falter in their duty, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all.”

May democracy prevail in our United States, and long live Ukraine.

NANCI LAGARENNE

 

Level of Jackassery
East Hampton
March 28, 2022

David,

When Senator Ben Sasse talks about the level of jackassery during the judiciary committee hearings, one can only assume he is referring to his fellow Republicans Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Josh Hawley. He is too polite to call them deranged scumbags but it would be inappropriate to call them anything else.

It is understood by most of the less-than-brain-dead world, that Supreme Court appointments have been shifted to the dung heap since Mitch McConnell scuttled the Merrick Garland nomination. (Some say it was the Bork nomination but that was policy, not process.) However, they hit a new low in the hearings for Judge Jackson, grotesquely questioning her race, child porn decisions, and crime history.

For those who may not know it, Jackson is Black. She’s also a woman. Republicans have problems with women in general and Black women in particular. We don’t question their racism or their misogyny — they are a given. They are the soul of Donald Trump and his MAGA machine. The trio are Trump acolytes [who] support and emulate him whenever possible.

It is surprising that the trio would raise the child pornography banner, given that three of the centers of kiddie porn in the United States are South Carolina, Missouri, and Texas. Given that their deposed hero has had a career of extensive intimacy with all forms of pornography, including pornographers. One can only imagine Trump and Graham, up late at the White House, watching their favorite kiddie films. What’s the real motivation behind the trio’s kiddie porn machinations?

Race is a nonissue. Given the extreme racist nature of the trio and of their hero, for them, putting another Black person on the court is obscene. Their behavior in the face of this obscenity was perfectly normal. Would you allow schools to teach about institutional racism? The question alone makes the point.

Crime: Trump has been accused of criminal behavior since he began working for his father scamming contractors and suppliers, violating housing rules and laws, misrepresenting his assets and business dealings, as per the New York State attorney general. Crime, serious crime, starts at the top and works its way down.

Jackson’s record on crime, coming from a family of cops and working as a prosecutor, is exceptional. She brings a level of knowledge and understanding that doesn’t remotely exist on the court, which might make some higher-end criminals nervous.

Critical Race Theory: Imbecility is not a deterrent to political activism. To anyone who has read anything about C.R.T., the questioning of Justice Jackson on this subject introduces a phylum on the human scale that returns us to the Iron Age. Neither of the three aforementioned cretins ever bothered to look up the definition of C.R.T. While it has existed since the 1970s, its notoriety as a public school issue is total, unequivocal bullshit. It is the equivalent of teaching nuclear physics to preschoolers. The animation around C.R.T. is an expression of profound intellectual and societal retardation.

The real question raised by this repugnant, degenerate behavior is what is the job description for elected officials? Are there any standards that they are supposed to adhere to? Governing is about making laws and improving the living conditions of the population. You don’t get paid to perform on TV. You aren’t a dog-and-pony show.

Jackasses are known for taking a dump whenever they feel like it. They left a huge pile at the Jackson hearings. When they think their shit doesn’t smell, we have a problem.

NEIL HAUSIG

 

Buyer’s Remorse?
Montauk
March 27, 2022

To the Editor,

For god’s sake, this man cannot remain in power — quote from your senile president. I’m waiting for all the Biden voters for their complaints on this comment. Imagine a world in The East Hampton Star if Trump said that. Buyer’s remorse yet on your vote? I bet not.

Also, your poster boy, Baldwin: complaints about his actions? More crickets.

DAVE SCHLEIFER

 

Trickle-Up Poverty
East Hampton
March 27, 2022

Dear Editor,

While the situation in Ukraine has been a delightful distraction for Joe Biden from his mounting domestic failures, it can only hold back the forces at work for so long. Bidenomics, the policy of runaway inflation, is going to cost the average American family $3,500 this year alone. Is every American going to get a $3,500 raise to keep pace with Biden’s nearly 8 percent inflation? How about our seniors on fixed incomes: Is Social Security going to bump up another $3,500 for them? Everything from gas, bacon, and eggs are surging in price as trickle-up poverty, the fever dream of the left, begins to hit home, literally.

Biden’s growing incompetence is making Americans poorer by the day. Huge wage gains made across the American spectrum prior to his election have been more than wiped out. As we lumber on toward summer, some economists are whispering the “R” word as we face the prospect of 10 percent inflation or higher. You know in the Democratic National Committee fuhrerbunker the sweat is starting to bead up on a lot of furrowed brows as Americans’ discontent continues to grow. Our standard of living is dropping like a rock, the dream that our children would have better days than we did is disappearing, while Old Joe laps ice cream like a dog.

Biden and his merry band of quislings keep calling the situation “transitory.” Transitory? Inflation was transitory last fall, according to these idiots, so is it going to be transitory this summer, this year, next year? As Inigo Montoya said, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Transitory as defined by Merriam-Webster means to be of brief duration, temporary, tending to pass away, not persistent. Well, that is the exact opposite of what we are all seeing. This is what happens when you just print boatloads of money and dump it into the economy.

Now with the price of gas so high and impacting all facets of the economy, the architects of our problems are now proposing a miracle solution. Democrats in Congress think you should all get monthly $100 “gas stimulus” to fight rising gas prices brought about by Democratic policies. Holy Weimar Republic, Batman, these buffoons do realize that just printing more money and handing it out like a party favor is only going to make matters worse! More printed money lowers the value of the currency, fuels more inflation, and thus increases the price of everything you buy.

Inflation is a hidden tax on all of us; you know that, right? As prices surge to history-breaking levels, the tax we all pay on everything goes up. While you have less money in your pocket more is flowing into the government coffers than ever before. While your neighbors stand in breadlines, the people responsible for this chaos are rolling in the dough. I know the bad orange man may have made fun of your heroes or put out a mean tweet or two but he never did anything to actually hurt you. Joe Biden on the other hand is doing real harm to the country, to you, to your kids and their future.

MICHAEL D. BOUKER

 

Writing on the Wall
Springs
March 25, 2022

Dear David,

Michael Meltzer wrote to The Star on March 24 intent on convincing us that Joe Biden is the father of the current inflation. He wrote, “gas prices jumped 10 cents per gallon the day after his inauguration.” Wow, fast work, Joe! Mr. Meltzer must imagine there is a big inflation dial in the Oval Office, and Joe went there in his tuxedo after taking the oath and turned it up to “high.”

A rational person would note that gas prices are a function of a lumbering world market that could care less who is president. Rex Tillerson, former head of Exxon who cut a multi-billion-dollar oil development deal with Vladimir Putin before Trump tapped him as secretary of state, has said, “Governments come and go, but Exxon is forever.” Even Forbes Magazine, a right-leaning business-oriented rag that would never make excuses for a Democrat, tells us the current inflation is a result of supply chain disruptions and pent-up demand from Covid shutdowns as workers return to their jobs.

The Biden administration found that the previous administration had made no plan for distribution of the Covid vaccine. The relentless push that Joe’s people put into that task of getting shots into arms did slow the virus, but not before it could kill close to a million Americans, and bring business activity to a crawl. (In case you forgot, Trump was the first president since Herbert Hoover to leave office with fewer jobs than when he began, significantly due to his failure to deal with the pandemic, but also because he floundered ineffectually through unsuccessful trade deals like a bull in a China closet.)

But Mr. Meltzer would have us believe inflation is all about killing the Keystone Pipeline. Mr. Meltzer actually admits that he works for BP, formerly British Petroleum. Readers may remember their ads from the 1990s: “Beyond Petroleum.” Sir John Browne, head of BP back then, did get some positive press for trying to begin a transition to alternative fuels. He backed out of the development of Canadian tar sands, source of some of the dirtiest oil in the world, the same filthy sludge that would be pumped across America through the Keystone Pipeline. What could go wrong?

BP is the same company who gave us the pipeline disaster causing the largest oil spill in Alaska’s history and the Deepwater Horizon fiasco in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest marine oil spill in history. This Keystone Cops company, through its ineptitude, managed to lose $17.1 billion in one quarter, a record for an oil company.

Alas, Sir John was ousted from the company, and the old oilmen took over. They sold off many of the wind and solar programs, stopped using the Beyond Petroleum branding, and, in 2007, bought back into the tar sands development. Don’t worry about their big loss — they had $50.6 billion in revenue with billions in profit last quarter with Biden in the White House. We pay to cover their ineptitude when we buy their gas. If Mr. Meltzer is worried about the price of gas, he should talk to his boss.

Today, even BP is back at work on alternative energy, not out of altruism or worry about the devastation wrought by climate change, but because they now see the writing on the wall. Renewables are cheaper, the environment is on its last gasp, and the days of the oil monopoly are (too slowly) coming to an end. Even Mr. Meltzer’s bosses might tell him to buy an electric car and put solar on his roof to charge it.

DON MATHESON

 

Good for Our Country
Montauk
March 27, 2022

Dear David,

Please let me start with: a while ago someone wrote to you concerned about my hate letters, I would like to know if she’s read Richard Siegelman’s recent notation to The Star? The language, in my opinion, not necessary, even if he is quoting Trump. We’re going back now, filled with hatred for Trump, one and a half years into Biden’s term still blaming Trump. Also a writer accused me of putting clouds on my scripts, so please don’t believe her. Really, there is no one more advanced in this area than the Democrats. They are perfectionist.

Be advised my writing comes from my true feelings of the goings-on and flat-out truths that this president is feeble, arrogant, and slow-thinking, has never been correct about foreign policy, ask Robert Gates.

Here’s my statement of truths: I don’t give a red rat’s ass about Donald Trump, I truly wish he would shut his mouth; however, I felt he was good for our country. Please stop trying to pass the lies about unemployment, gas prices, etc.; gas in Trump’s presidency was around $2 and change.

Gas prices went up way before Putin invaded Ukraine, and, as Covid restrictions diminished and businesses reopened the public returned to work. Besides that, many, many persons tried their hands at starting up their own business.

In God and country,

BEA DERRICO

 

Corporate Gouging
Springs
March 21, 2022

To the Editor,

The lawsuits against the now-named South Fork offshore wind project are about far more than just the potential for further contamination of groundwater in our area, as your editorial mentioned on March 17.

The original request for proposals from which this project was selected was violated in a multitude of ways — the most damning is the needlessly exorbitant price. The originally submitted cost that won the bid was far below what the actual cost will end up being and the true cost is far higher than many other better projects that were rejected at the time. The cost is more than two times as expensive per kilowatt hour of electricity as compared to other offshore wind projects that have been approved in New York State and will result in ratepayers being charged an extra billion over the next 20 years.

At the time of selection, both LIPA and Deepwater would not release the cost of the winning bid, but eventually, after being sued, they said it would be 16 cents per kWh. Unfortunately, the true cost was roughly twice that for the original 90-megawatt project. However, given the improvements in technology over the next several years after it was first approved in 2016, the company in 2019 offered to use larger turbines — this was actually done twice from six megawatts originally to nine megawatts in 2019, to the more recent 11 megawatts. The project still has not begun to be installed, so who knows if they will decide to go with the 13 or 14-megawatt turbines as some other projects in the United States have announced in the past year.

Surprisingly, despite the improvement in technology and the lower costs that came from it for the entire project, Deepwater offered to lower the cost of power to only 8 cents per kWh. for the additional 40 megawatts of power, while maintaining the significantly higher original cost on the first 90 megawatts. Instead of voiding the deal as they should have and rebidding the project, LIPA went along with that.

Given this victory, Deepwater, a small subsidiary of a hedge fund, almost immediately flipped the entire project’s rights to Orsted, a major European developer, for a $500 million fee — a stupendous return for barely spending any money on basic planning for what was a high-risk project, and perhaps not much more for very effective lobbying and political donation campaigns? For Orsted, this is also a great deal, since they will likely capture almost the other half of the excess billion in extra charges for this project — a corporate win-win in the name of the environment! Who are the losers? The local ratepayers, of course.

You see, the average cost of the entire 130 megawatts now has been released as 22 cents per kWh., which is still much higher than the supposed 16 kWh. that won the request for proposals. Moreover, for anyone that knows anything about R.F.P.s, you don’t just get to adjust your project size, or cost basis, three years later after approval. At the very least, the entire project should have been rebid and if that had been done the cost would have been in the 8-cents-per-kWh. range most likely just as it is for the larger Sunrise offshore project that was also approved in 2019.

In addition, the original R.F.P. required the power source to be built by May of 2019, roughly three years after approval   — here we are now almost six years later still with no power being produced and, even more embarrassingly, no offshore construction having even started! Of course, LIPA should have known that Deepwater could never have met this deadline given there were no sites to stage and build these turbines or even any of the type of boats needed for installation in the entire U.S. — in fact they are finally just starting to build these types of very expensive boats in the past year and they are still not completed.

It gets worse: One of the projects that lost out to Deepwater was a proposed 37-megawatt solar installation to be sited at East Hampton Airport whose bid was apparently 17 cents per kWh. and scheduled to be built by 2018. Not only would that have been easily done and we would have enjoyed four years of renewable power in our area by now, but the town would have also already received annual lease payments for roughly what South Fork Wind eventually promised.

The problems don’t end there — since this R.F.P. was approved in 2016, research has shown that offshore wind not only has its lowest production in the summer when we need it most, but that it won’t work for days at a time then either. Therefore, it was never a good fit for our problem in the first place and won’t be a solution that saves any money as intended.

Lastly, the original submission for Deepwater Wind did not include the cost to upgrade the grid that would be necessary to send excess power back to the middle of the Island in winter when it would provide significantly more power than can be used on the South Fork. This is not an insignificant cost — $600 million, which is more than twice the amount that supposedly was going to be saved by the original R.F.P. by avoiding $240 million in upgrade costs to enable more power to come out to the South Fork. I believe in the seven years since the original R.F.P., LIPA/PSEG has spent that money anyway, so ironically there never were any savings, but we may be on the hook for an extra $600 million if it goes through as now planned.

That part at least doesn’t have to happen though since Orsted now owns both the Sunrise and the South Fork Wind projects and for the 880-megawatt Sunrise project they have already been approved for a $50 million offshore cable to run all of Sunrise’s power — seven times the amount of South Fork Wind, back to the main grid connection for the entire Island. It should not cost much more to upgrade that cable to handle South Fork Wind’s electric production too.

Even if a cable is landed in East Hampton to help with our grid pocket issue during the summer, that does not mean the excess power from South Fork Wind shouldn’t still be sent back in winter via the offshore cable. That move could at least avoid wasting $600 million of unnecessary grid upgrade expenditures that will be needed to be paid in the next several years and shouldered apparently by only Suffolk County ratepayers. To put those savings in perspective, they could cover the installation costs for utility-scale solar that would offset over 10 percent of Long Island’s current electric needs.

The last part of this sad saga is that the New York State Public Service Commission studied this deal for several years to make sure it was in the best interest of ratepayers on Long Island. Amazingly, and despite its many obvious flaws, it was approved of last year, so they too are part of the current lawsuit.

If there is a lesson at this point, it is that New York State should stop putting out any more R.F.P.s for offshore wind projects; they have a goal to install another 5 gigawatts on top of the 4 gigawatts already approved. There should be a moratorium for at least two years so as to allow for at least a few of the five already approved projects to finally get started, hopefully be completed, and to have them actually produce some power. Once this is done, my guess is there will be some valuable information learned and even better technology will be available in a few years that will lower the cost for ratepayers to the 5-kWh.-per-hour range that Europe pays today. Given the continued improvement in offshore wind technology, it should be possible to help the planet and to save ratepayers money too.

In terms of South Fork Wind, there never was a good reason to waste over $1.5 billion on such a small wind project supposedly in the name of battling climate change, as so many have claimed. Corporate gouging of ratepayers in the name of green goals only makes it more difficult in the future as we already have a serious problem with greenwashing in this country. However, there is still time to avoid wasting $600 million on unnecessary grid upgrade costs that could be used instead to help meet the aggressive climate goals the state has set for itself. If you agree with me, I encourage you to write to your local state representatives and the new governor, as I have in the past, about this travesty.

BRAD BROOKS


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