Demand Clean Drinking Water!
Demand Clean Drinking Water!
Why this petition matters
The public wants to know what the DEC is doing to protect our groundwater and clean up found contamination.
We, the undersigned, DEMAND that the NYS DEC:
- Deny the January, 2020 Sand Land Mine’s application* [to modify its existing permit to allow importation of crushed stone, crushed concrete aggregate, compost] because it is illegal, in violation of the law, the Town Code, and three Appellate Court rulings. (click here to read application)
- Deny bringing these materials on site because it violates the DEC’s own promise that these materials would all be removed from the site permanently.
- Immediately perform quarterly groundwater testing via Suffolk County Dept. of Health (SCDH) on the site.
- Hold a Public Hearing and the immediate and complete release of ALL groundwater testing done on the site.
The proposed application* threatens our sole source aquifer (and one of the deepest groundwater recharge areas on the East End) that has been adversely impacted by activities at Sand Land Mine as already determined by the Suffolk County Department of Health (SCDH).
In July, 2018, the Suffolk County Dept. of Health declared that operations at this site caused contamination of the aquifer beneath the mine including excessive levels of arsenic, lead, cobalt, manganese and radioactive metals. Contaminants exceeded federal drinking water standards — in some cases by orders of magnitude. SCDH had to get a court order to test the aquifer. (The Health Dept. is the gold-standard for water testing and DEC is ignoring the findings.)
The SCDH’s water testing results show contamination of the aquifer. Any further activity at the site including the storage, manufacture and processing of materials and compost, may further exacerbate and threaten contamination of ground water and our sole source aquifer.
The permit application violates the DEC’s own 2018 and 2019 rulings.
September 11, 2018: the DEC ruled that mining activities at the site cease operations within 15 days because of its threat to the aquifer and deminimus sand reserves.
March 15, 2019: Contradicting the 2018 ruling, DEC Commissioner Seggos gave Sand Land 8 more years to operate, mine 40 feet deeper (and closer to the aquifer) plus 2 more years for reclamation.
NOW, the DEC seeks to yet again “modify” Sand Land’s permit (at Sand Land’s request, even while the original expansion is in litigation) in an attempt to make clearly illegal activities, legal.
The DEC’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) review was wholly inadequate and violates the procedures and standards of SEQRA .
This SEQRA review was improperly done and totally ignores the Suffolk County Health Department’s and other water tests showing contamination, not to mention the DEC’s Horseblock Road investigation, the Suffolk County Special Grand Jury’s Report, and other extensive evidence of potential environmental impacts to the site and the groundwater beneath it.
The DEC allows Sand Land’s private environmental consultant rather than the Suffolk County Health Department to test the site.
Noted: In October 2019, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini announced “…these acts could result in irreparable damage to our environment and to Long Island’s aquifer, the sole source of our drinking water.” (read more: click here for full article)
We DEMAND to know why the DEC reversed its decision and why the DEC has not addressed the contamination in our groundwater. Before any permit is issued, we DEMAND a PUBLIC HEARING – an opportunity to voice our concerns and have our questions answered.
*Proposed application link: https://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20200115_reg1.html#147360085100001
DEADLINE: We MUST submit this petition to the DEC by February 13th 9am. Comment period is over February 14, 2020.
A comment period on Sand Land’s new application is open through Feb. 14. Those wishing to share their opinions can send written correspondence to Mary A. Mackinnon, N.Y.S.D.E.C. Region 1 Headquarters, SUNY at Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road in Stony Brook 11790. Comments can also be emailed to R1DEP@dec.ny.gov.
Image credit: Peter Boody, Sag Harbor Express