Look To The Science - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1719763

Look To The Science

The Pine Barrens Commission needs to consider one important issue: We need clean drinking water. Without that, all other issues are moot.

A violation of the Pine Barrens, which preserves our water quality, can never be reversed. An error in judgment about this will damage our environment forever, impacting the very lives of those of us who live here: how we will live here, and, in fact, whether we can continue to live here at all. This is about the entirety of Long Island, of which East Quogue is just a small part.

Take a step back and look to the science. Why was the PBC formed? Please heed the words of those who were instrumental in creating the commission. The presentations at the meeting on February 19 of Steve Englebright and Dick Amper should take precedence. These two men are largely responsible for protecting our Pine Barrens for decades, Dick Amper through the Pine Barrens Society and Steve Englebright as a teacher and legislator.

Steve is a scientist first, with a master’s degree in paleontology/sedimentology from Stony Brook University, worked as curator of geologic collections at Stony Brook and was the founding director of the Museum of Long Island Natural Sciences. He is currently on the faculty of the Sustainability Studies Program at Stony Brook. A Suffolk County legislator from 1983 to 1992, he has since served as a state assemblyman, currently the chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation. His comments at the February 19 meeting, explaining why this planned residential district should be refused, speak for themselves.

Assemblyman Englebright’s comments at last Wednesday’s meeting, August 19, warning of potential loss of human life due to fire hazards created by the “island” effect of houses surrounding the golf course while ignoring the “cluster” concept of homes, are stunning. This risk is unbelievably accentuated by plans to store very large quantities of fuel, exacerbating the dangers of uncontrolled and devastating fires. This from a developer who claims to be a good neighbor but acts only in its own interest to include their plans for an 18-hole course golf course.

The PBC website says “The project is undergoing significant changes to respond to comments received at the public hearing …” The developers keep tweaking the project in the hopes that it will squeak through with an approval. This is the largest project to ever come before the commission. Allowing this abomination on over 600 acres of our protected Pine Barrens is contrary to the mission entrusted to the commission when it was formed.

I am not an expert, just a cancer survivor who wants to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Is that asking too much?

Victoria Greenbaum

East Quogue

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