Not Based On Science - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1552093

Not Based On Science

Not Based On Science

Sand Land’s lawyer’s attacks on Suffolk County’s water testing results [“Got It Wrong,” Letters, October 17] are based on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s and Sand Land’s shared litigation objectives — not on science.

The DEC had cited the same county study, finding potential contaminants from vegetative waste and land clearing debris, when it had concluded last September that mining should cease immediately. For decades, the DEC has partially funded and relied on Suffolk County’s testing infrastructure. Now, because the DEC finds itself the defendant in a lawsuit seeking to undo the “settlement” and expansion it has granted Sand Land, it suddenly turns on its partner.

Sand Land’s lawyer quotes from court papers filed by the DEC, not any kind of official government document. It is worth noting that those suing the DEC include the Town of Southampton, a state legislator, civic and environmental groups, and neighbors.

In addition, the recent grand jury report discussed in The Press article [“Calls For Better Mine Oversight After County Investigation,” 27east.com, October 8] sides with the plaintiffs on the issue of testing. One of its key recommendations is to give Suffolk County a greater role in water testing to monitor the aquifer, and to give the county’s Department of Health Services and local municipalities — including the towns — a greater role in mining permit approvals. Only the DEC thinks its oversight is adequate to protect the aquifer.

The county conducted its testing at Sand Land over Sand Land’s fierce opposition. The county went to court, and won. The tests make it clear why Sand Land fought so hard to prevent them from happening.

Inexplicably, the DEC has done no independent testing, yet trashes the county results to seek tactical advantage in a litigation defending its ill-considered decision to grant Sand Land an expansion. DEC’s opinion is refuted by the affidavits of county scientists, which Sand Land’s lawyer ignores.

Finally, Sand Land’s lawyer wants a round of applause for his client for having “ceased the receipt and processing of vegetative organic waste.” In fact, Sand Land’s extensive waste processing operations were never permitted uses under the town’s zoning code. They are merely agreeing not to do something they should never have been doing in the first place.

Zachary Murdock

Lazer, Aptheker, Rosella & Yedid, P.C.

Melville

Mr. Murdock is an attorney representing neighbors involved in litigation with Sand Land — Ed.

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