Is it really over? The Orient water main saga, that is.
The answer appears to be yes, but given the Suffolk County Water Authority’s habit of flip-flopping on its response to the public opposition to its $3.8 million project over the past year, pardon our skepticism.
At one point, the authority’s leadership told Congressman Tim Bishop that the plan was dead, only to reverse that within a matter of days. And although the authority’s CEO recently said without equivocation that the agency would not challenge the town should it refuse to grant the necessary permits, the authority’s board of directors came oh so close Tuesday to dragging the town to court over the trustee’s vote against the expansion.
The authority also agreed this week to try to transfer the federal stimulus money that would have paid for most of the 17,000 feet of new transmission lines to a Calverton project residents there definitely want. That’s a full reversal, given that the authority has for months said it cannot transfer stimulus funds that way.
All that is certain now is that there’s no construction going on now.
Congressman Tim Bishop’s spokesman Jon Schneider is optimistic. “Any effort to bring a pipeline to Orient is D-E-A-D under any scenario,” he said.
We hope he’s right. But for now, we share Supervisor Scott Russell’s view. He said, “Dead is when the money is spent somewhere other than Orient. I’m going to leave the champagne corked for now.”