A State Supreme Court justice has nullified a stop-work order by East Hampton Town that prevented completion of a controversial East End power line.
Justice Thomas Whelan cited the LIPA Reform Act of 2013, a state law, in ruling Thursday that PSEG Long Island, as agent for LIPA, is "exempt from all local legislation, including but not limited to the Town Code of the Town of East Hampton, its zoning codes, permit requirements, and local enforcement of state legislation."
Whelan declared the town's stop-work order "null and void."SIGN UPGet weekly community newsletters
The town issued the order in April of last year, as contractors for PSEG were completing work on a contested 6-mile transmission line on large utility poles that snaked through parts of East Hampton Village and the town.
Completion of the project was halted by the order, which prevented PSEG from finishing work at a substation in Amagansett. It has remained unfinished awaiting the judge's ruling.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said the town would appeal.
"Every other municipality on Long Island ought to take a careful look at the court's decision, which excludes LIPA and PSEG from all local legislation," Cantwell said. "I think this is far-reaching and totally undermines local municipal home rule."
East Hampton residents and public officials have pushed PSEG to bury the line, which the utility said is needed to ensure reliability on the power-constrained East End. PSEG said it would do so only if residents paid the cost, estimated at $25 million.
Jeffrey Weir, spokesman for PSEG Long Island, said, "PSEG Long Island's primary focus is building partnerships with the communities we serve. We will continue our dialogue with the leadership of East Hampton and look forward to working in cooperation with them on the best path forward."