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May 10, 2018 4:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State Assembly, Senate Pass Legislation To Allow Local Governments To Monitor Sand Mines

The Sand Land mine in Noyac.
May 15, 2018 11:55 AM

Municipalities across Long Island could soon gain the power to regulate mining operations—including a Noyac sand mine and mulch processing facility that is being evaluated by the Suffolk County Health Department for its potential impact on groundwater quality—if Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signs legislation approved in Albany last week.

The legislation on the governor’s desk would authorize local governments in Suffolk and Nassau counties, like Southampton Town, to require groundwater monitoring in connection with mining operations.

“Sand Land was part of the consideration for the legislation,” said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., noting that questions have been raised in recent years about the possibility of the facility’s operations causing groundwater contamination.

Mr. Thiele said similar legislation had previously passed in the Assembly but not in the Senate—until this month. He said he believes the legislation gained traction and finally was approved in the Senate because of groundwater testing by the Suffolk County Health Department near the Noyac facility that showed some signs of contamination—though he noted that there are other unregulated mines across Long Island.

“The State DEC never monitored the groundwater and failed to protect the public,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release, referring to the Sand Land mine. “This is the most sensitive water charge land in the Town of Southampton, east of the Shinnecock Canal. It is a State Special Groundwater Protection Area. Now the groundwater is compromised by contamination.”

Senator Kenneth LaValle noted in the same release that Sand Land helped shine a light on the gap in current state law.

“On Long Island, it is critically important that we monitor groundwater and take strong enforcement actions when it is being negatively affected,” Mr. LaValle said. “The Sand Land issue highlighted the need for our new legislation to proactively protect our water. Assemblyman Thiele and I worked successfully to have the measure approved by both houses of the legislature, and now we need the governor to quickly approve it so we can preserve Long Island’s drinking water for today, and for the future.”

It was not immediately clear when Mr. Cuomo would make a decision on whether or not to sign the bill into law.

“Sand Land fully supports the DEC and their mission to protect the environment while also promoting mining,” said a statement issued on Wednesday by Brian Matthews, an attorney representing the owner of Sand Land. “The goal of protecting water quality while allowing for responsible sand mining are not mutually exclusive. In fact, Sand Land has already installed monitoring wells at the Sand Land site, and has scheduled the installation of similar wells at our other active and reclaimed mines.”

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Where will our local governments get sand???
By knitter (1940), Southampton on May 11, 18 10:09 AM
Why have I never heard anyone who utilizes the pit call it "sand land"? I have only seen it here on 27 east
By greenmonster (20), southampton on May 11, 18 5:01 PM