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Brookhaven Town to appeal dismissal of suit against LIPA, PSEG

Brookhaven Town officials said on Wednesday that they will appeal a state court ruling that threw out the town’s lawsuit against LIPA and PSEG Long Island over giant steel poles in Eastport.

A notice of appeal will be filed Thursday, officials said.

Supervisor Ed Romaine said the town would reject the court’s finding that its suit was “moot” because the project was largely complete by the time Brookhaven filed its appeal. The court’s decision relied primarily on findings from a state court decision in favor of the utility in an East Hampton case that objected to a LIPA substation in Amagansett.

“East Hampton Town was trying to enforce a local building code; we’re complaining about a violation of state law,” said Romaine, noting Brookhaven’s belief that PSEG’s installation of giant steel poles created a “public hazard” that last year led to a traffic fatality.

“We think there’s issues here that require further examination,” he said.

At the same time, the town is willing to negotiate a settlement with the utility that makes good on a previously reported offer by PSEG to bury the line south of Sunrise Highway in the hamlet of Eastport.

“If they are prepared to keep their word and bury the line, we’d discuss a settlement,” Romaine said.

PSEG spokeswoman Brooke Houston declined to discuss whether the company would bury the lines, noting the matter “remains under litigation” with the appeal.

State Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) released a statement Monday saying they supported the town’s decision to appeal.

The court’s decision to dismiss the town’s case “rewards LIPA and PSEG for lack of transparency and openness in dealing with the community,” the lawmakers said. “This project was rushed to completion to avoid public scrutiny and to prevent the legitimate right of judicial review sought by the town.”

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