PSEG Sues Town

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Penta_012815AThe rancor between the Town of North Hempstead and PSEG LI has now spilled into 2015.

The utility is suing the town, its supervisor, Judi Bosworth, and
its superintendent of highways, Thomas Tiernan, for demanding—through an ordinance—that PSEG
LI put signs on utility poles that say the poles carry a dangerous substance.

In a suit filed earlier this month in New York’s Eastern District Court, PSEG contends its first amendment rights are being violated by the ordinance and asks that it be annulled and that no enforcement actions be taken against the utility.

The town passed the ordinance last year because it felt the use of a pesticide, Pentachlorophenol (penta), on the poles posed a danger to residents. PSEG LI uses penta as a preservative, a common practice with utility poles to extend their longevity.

The town’s ordinance, adopted  in September, required PSEG LI to put four-and-a-half-inch by seven-inch signs on poles, saying: “Notice—This Pole Contains a Hazardous Chemical. Avoid Prolonged Direct Contact With This Pole. Wash Hands Or Other Exposed Areas Thoroughly If Contact Is Made.”

PSEG LI said absolutely not to the decree. David Daly, the utility’s president, said during a meeting at Anton Media Group’s headquarters the utility would not be putting the signs on poles.

The penalty for PSEG LI not acting by March 1, is $500 a pole for the first conviction and $1,000 for a second, or subsequent conviction. Not
each pole has to carry a sign. For every line of poles, the sign has to go on every fourth one.
The ordinance is in effect for poles installed after Jan. 1, 2014.

(For more of the story see this week’s Port Washington News)