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Nov 12, 2014 10:24 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

DEC To Hold Hearing On November 19 Regarding 'Sand Land' Expansion

Nov 13, 2014 5:08 PM

The State Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing next week on a proposed sand mine expansion in Noyac, with plans to address concerns raised by its recent determination that the project will have no adverse environmental effects.

The public hearing will address the state agency’s issuance of a negative declaration, which allows Wainscott Sand & Gravel Inc.—the company that is seeking to expand the sand mine, known locally as “Sand Land,” which is located off Middle Line Highway—to bypass an expensive and time-consuming environmental review.

The company is seeking permission to expand its operations by 4.9 acres, and also to excavate 40 feet deeper than authorized under its existing New York State Mined Lands
Reclamation Act permit.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, starting at 6 p.m., at the Bridgehampton Community House on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.

The DEC’s ruling was posted July 23 on its website, in an Environmental Notice Bulletin, and the agency is holding next week’s hearing in response to a significant number of written comments it has received as a result. A DEC administrative law judge will review the public comments, and written comments will be accepted between November 19 and Friday, November 21.

Mark Carrara, deputy permit administrator for the DEC, did not respond to a request seeking comment on the agency’s determination.

The proposed expansion requires that Wainscott Sand & Gravel first secure approval from the DEC to modify its mining permit. Sand Land is currently mining 50 acres, and the excavated area now extends about 65 feet below its original grade. The mine has been permitted by the DEC and in operation since 1981.

Local officials and environmental groups have been vocal in their opposition to the expansion, saying that it could pose significant risks to local groundwater and drinking water supplies.

John Tintle, president of Wainscott Sand & Gravel, said the company will be dredging 100 feet above the groundwater table, unlike many other mines on Long Island. Because of that, he said the expansion would have no affect on groundwater and drinking water.

“There’s never been a case of sand and gravel mining having an impact on ground and drinking water in New York State,” Mr. Tintle said on
Wednesday morning.

Robert DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, said that he does not understand the DEC’s reasoning behind its ruling, but he is optimistic that next week’s hearing will open the agency’s eyes to how detrimental the expansion could be, with the potential risks to local groundwater standing “front and center.”

“We’re hopeful that, at a minimum, we’re going to draft an Environmental Impact Statement,” Mr. DeLuca said in a phone interview this week, referring to an in-depth study that would outline all of the potential environmental impacts of such an expansion.

“We’re obviously very glad that the DEC is holding the public hearing,” he continued. “The outcome remains to be seen, but we certainly hope the DEC is coming to listen. It’s a good start.”

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