Court denies PSEG's restraining order request, OKs expedited case in East Hampton project

Workers plant a new utility pole at the Workers plant a new utility pole at the intersection of Gingerbread Lane and Toilsome Lane in East Hampton on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Photo Credit: Brad Penner

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A state appellate court Monday denied PSEG Long Island's second request for a temporary restraining order to allow it to continue work on a contested East Hampton power-line project, but granted expedited consideration on the company's underlying case in seeking to finish the project before June 1.

The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn refused to grant PSEG's request for an immediate order that would have allowed work at an electrical substation to continue in Amagansett, where East Hampton Town previously issued a stop-work order.

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John Denby, a lawyer for East Hampton Town, said Monday's ruling means "the stop-work order remains in effect."

But the court granted expedited consideration of PSEG's underlying case that it is exempt from local building codes on land that it owns and that delays in the project would subject residents to potential blackouts. The town must file a motion in opposition to PSEG's request by Friday.

"We are pleased that the Appellate Division senses our urgency on this issue by requiring the town to submit reply papers by Friday . . . for this much-needed reliability project that impacts all of the Town of East Hampton," PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir said. "We remain confident that we will prevail in court and be able to return to work to complete this project before June 1, 2014."

Denby said he will file a motion in opposition to PSEG's by the Friday deadline.

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The stop-work order and the legal wrangling stem from the town's opposition to a contested 6.2-mile transmission line. Residents have opposed the project for health and aesthetic reasons, saying the large poles and high voltages could increase dangers and lower property values.

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