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Jul 29, 2014 3:36 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

PSEG Files To Dismiss Lawsuit From East Hampton Non-Profit

Jul 29, 2014 4:02 PM

PSEG Long Island on Monday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the utility company by an East Hampton nonprofit, according to PSEG spokesperson Jeffrey Weir.

Long Island Businesses for Responsible Energy filed a class action complaint against PSEG in May, claiming the company’s installation of a 23/33-kilovolt transmission and 267 new utility poles is a threat to health and safety, a detriment to residents’ property values, and “negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

LIBFRE spokesperson Rebecca Singer said she could not comment on the dismissal, based on advice from her attorney, Irving Like.

But PSEG continues to stand its ground on the validity, necessity and legality of its work.

In its dismissal, the utility company states that the complaint filed by LIBFRE wasn’t made until eight months after an environmental study, as required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act, concluded that the project would have no adverse effect on the environment.

“The complaint should be dismissed in its entirety as an untimely, impermissible collateral attack on a final administrative determination,” according to the court documents. Because no objection was made within the four-month threshold in accordance with SEQRA, the lawsuit holds no weight, alleges the memo.

Furthermore, the memo states, in short, that LIBFRE fails to prove how the SEQRA determination was incorrectly made, citing a lack of “subject matter jurisdiction.” It says the plaintiffs also fail to prove the existence of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) created by the transmission lines, and the potential damages from pentachlorephenol on the utility poles, according to the memo.

Pentachlorephenol, also referred to as “penta,” is a preservative used on utility poles that critics say can have harmful effects on the environment.

PSEG claims that because no New York court has “ever recognized a tort claim based on the emanation of EMFs or penta,” this aspect of the suit should be dismissed as well, stating that PSEG has applied penta to the poles “in accordance with standard utility practices using standard utility poles, pre-treated with a ubiquitous and lawful wood preservative.”

Mr. Weir said he couldn’t comment further on the dismissal of the case, and Ms. Singer said she could not comment on whether LIBFRE would respond to PSEG’s dismissal.

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