Government Briefs: Montaukett Bill Vetoed, Water Quality Rules Enacted, Gas Price Survey Released

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Governor Vetoes Montaukett Recognition Bill

For the second time, Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have recognized the existence of the Montaukett Nation.

According to New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., the second veto was due to the governor’s failure to conduct his own evaluation of whether recognition of this Native American tribe is warranted.

The legislation to recognize the tribe sought to reverse a 1910 court decision that stripped the Montauketts of their tribal lands and declared them extinct, despite the presence of their leaders in the courtroom. Mr. Cuomo first vetoed similar legislation in 2013 saying he would independently evaluate the tribe’s bid for recognition.

Last week’s veto prompted Mr. Thiele to release a statement reiterating support for the tribe.

“For those of us who live on Long Island, it is obvious that the Montaukett people, culture and government are alive and well,” he said. “This veto is no better than the court decision that made recognition legislation necessary in the first place.”

State Enacts Legislation Regulating Water Quality at Composting Facilities

In response to a growing number of facilities that process compost and materials from land clearing, New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright on Friday announced legislation to ensure water quality is preserved at those facilities.

The new law enables the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to impose rules and regulations on those facilities. It will include quarterly water testing and establishing setbacks for physical facilities from drinking water supply wells and surface water bodies, as well as dust and odor suppression and fire risk minimization.

“The tremendous increase in volume of unregulated material handled at these sites impacts residents’ quality of life,” Mr. LaValle said in a statement. “Our new law addresses specific areas of concern with commercial operations to ensure that our water, air and other areas of our environment are not adversely impacted. These operations also create noise and excessive amounts of dust and odors from unknown content, which permeate large swaths of the surrounding neighborhood. The bill enables the DEC to properly regulate these facilities.”

The new rules go into effect on January 1.

East End Districts Receive State Technology Grant Funding

The East Hampton and Hampton Bays school districts will receive state grants to improve classroom technology, wireless connectivity and security on their campuses, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced last week.

East Hampton is slated to receive $32,147 and Hampton Bays will receive $99,637 as part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act approved by New York voters in 2014.

“This program helps modernize classrooms by investing in technology such as computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement. “Access to this technology allows students to learn at their own pace, expands access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhances communication between parents and teachers.”

The Sag Harbor School District was a past recipient of Smart Schools funding. The Sag Harbor Express reported in June 2015 the district received money to improve security at its schools.

Survey Shows Many South Fork Gas Retailers Below Average Prices

According to a November 28 survey of gas station prices across East Hampton and Southampton towns, just over half of the gas stations — 16 out of 28 — reported prices below Long Island averages.

In eastern Southampton, prices ranged between $2.53 and $2.67 per gallon, and west of the Shinnecock Canal, prices were between $2.55 and $2.99. In East Hampton, prices ranged from $2.65 to $3.43. Long Island gas prices averaged $2.66, New York City prices averaged $2.77 and New York State averaged $2.68.

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