UPDATE: The item pertaining to Deepwater Wind's application seeking an easement to locate its cable beneath Scarborough Beach will not be before the Rhode Island State Properties Committee tomorrow.
The item was removed from the agenda late Tuesday at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, DEM spokesperson Gail Mastrati confirmed Wednesday.
Mastrati said DEM is still in discussions in Deepwater and details will be forthcoming.
She did not indicate a time frame as to when discussions might be completed.
NARRAGANSETT – The Rhode Island State Properties Committee will hear a request Thursday for approval of an easement agreement with Narragansett Electric Company over property located on Ocean Road in Narragansett.
Word quickly spread that the item pertained to Deepwater Wind’s quest to land a cable from its proposed offshore wind farm in Narragansett.
Ronald N. Renaud, chair of the state properties committee, confirmed Tuesday that the item does pertain to Deepwater and it would be heard at Thursday’s meeting in Providence.
According to an Aug. 30 memo from Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, to Renaud, DEM is seeking approval of the easements "needed to facilitate the connection of Block Island's electric grid with the mainland electric grid system."
Coit wrote that the installation would allow for "the installation and operation of a buried electric cable on two parcels of DEM property."
According to Coit's memo, the properties are both part of the Scarborough Beach Complex.
If approved, the cable will be installed on a parcel "north of the beach operation in a conduit at least 10 feet below the sand."
Coit also said a "concrete encased duct bank located 2.5 feet to 5 feet below the paved surface." She said the only surface feature would be a buried manhole located in the rear of the DEM parking lot.
James M. Callaghan, Narragansett Town Council president, said he had only just learned of DEM's request and the council hasn’t yet discussed it.
He said Narragansett would have a representative at the meeting.
“We will see what they have in store,” he said.
In August, the council voted to deny Deepwater’s request to land the 34.5 kilovolt cable at Narragansett Town Beach.
Days prior to the council’s unanimous vote denying the request, the town received a letter from Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski stating that Deepwater was withdrawing its application with Narragansett.
“We’re continuing to explore alternative routes for the cable that will connect Block Island to the mainland, and we remain confident we’ll find a suitable location,” Grybowski said in a statement. “While we believed that Narragansett Town Beach was a good option, it was never the only location we considered.”
Many Narragansett residents have been vehemently proposed to Deepwater’s proposal.
Some even formed a political action committee, Deepwater Resistance, and continue to forcefully advocate against Deepwater’s actions.
The latest move by Deepwater, seeking an easement for an alternate landing site in Narragansett, has reignited outrage among Deepwater Resistance’s members, including one of its founders, Myron Waldman.
"Deepwater Resistance opposes such action and is requesting a delay in the hearing so that citizens may voice their opinions," Waldman said of Deepwater's latest attempt to land its cable in Narragansett.
"The Narragansett Town Council, earlier this year, made it clear with a unanimous vote that they did not want Deepwater Wind's intrusion upon our fragile coastline," said Waldman, who is treasurer of Deepwater Resistance. "I find it upsetting that the state does not seem to honor the wishes of the clear majority of Narragansett residents."
Waldman and other members of Deepwater Resistance plan to attend tomorrow's meeting and voice their opinions regarding Deepwater's presence in Narragansett.
The state properties committee’s meeting will be held tomorrow, Sept. 26, at 10 a.m. at 1 Captiol Hill, Providence, in conference room C.