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Greenport man: Verizon cleanup before PSEG proceeds

JULIE LANE PHOTO Greenporter Chris Biemiller wants this part of Fifth Street Beach returned to its pristine condition before any consideration of a PSEG project to provide reliable electric service to Shelter Island.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Greenporter Chris Biemiller wants this part of Fifth Street Beach returned to its pristine condition before any consideration of a PSEG project to provide reliable electric service to Shelter Island.

Chris Biemiller is raising his voice about a proposed PSEG cable project that could run from Shelter Island Heights to Greenport.

He’s been through the mill of large utilities coming into his part of the village and destroying it.

“I’m not against progress,” Mr. Biemiller said. But what was once a pristine part of Fifth Street Beach — where a new power cable from the Island could surface — is now “an industrial waste site,” Mr. Biemiller added.

That’s’s the result of a project by Verizon three years ago that left pipes and construction debris in its wake and was never cleaned up. Verizon worked at the site after a vandal, apparently in pursuit of copper wiring, cut a cable that knocked out telephone service for Islanders for several days.

Verizon workers were able to restore the connections, but left a large concrete structure, black pipes sticking up on the beach as well as debris strewn around.

Since learning the answer to providing Shelter Island with reliable electrical service could be the PSEG cable, Mr. Biemiller has been discussing his concerns with neighbors and plans to send a letter to the Village Board.

Greenport Mayor George Hubbard said he hasn’t been to the site recently but “I will definitely look at it.” Mayor Hubbard plans to call Verizon officials about getting the site squared a way as he and his colleagues on the Village Board continue to explore the PSEG proposal.

Neighbors, Mr. Biemiller said, have taken it upon themselves to buy and plant flowers, special grasses and bushes to beautify the area.

He described the place where the Verizon cable connects as formerly a “secret” spot for those who wanted a little privacy as they enjoyed the beach.

Adding insult to injury would be a PSEG construction project there, he added, if the protection of the place and the well-being of the residents is not taken into consideration.

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