Government: Dust Not a Health Hazard, Ban on Offshore Drilling, Thiele Hosts Pet Food Drive

Dust being kicked up in the field behind Main Street in Amagansett. Michael Heller photo

Town Board: Amagansett Dust Not a Health Hazard

This week, officials in East Hampton Town announced that they have worked with Amagansett farmers and property owners to abate dust storms in the hamlet, caused by the failure of crop cover to take root before winter winds descended on the region.

According to a press release issued by East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s office, town-ordered soil samples also showed the dust particulates were not hazardous to health — a concern raised by residents and business owners after dust clouds from agricultural property near Amagansett’s downtown left the hamlet caked in fine particulates in January.

In late January, responding to resident concerns, town officials began working with Barry Bistrian, the owner of the farm field just north of the municipal parking lot in Amagansett, and Peter Dankowski, who leases and farms the land, to cover the fields with straw and erect snow fencing along its border. According to town officials, town highway and maintenance crews have removed dust deposits built up on streets and sidewalks.

“We share residents’ concerns about the recent dust storms in Amagansett. I am gratified that our agreed-upon solution appears to be working and am pleased that the town board was able to work together to achieve this result. We will continue to monitor the field conditions and take necessary actions to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” said Supervisor Van Scoyoc in a statement.

At the town’s request and with the permission of Mr. Bistrian, soil samples were also taken and tested for the presence of pesticides and metals commonly found in Long Island agricultural soils. According to Mr. Van Scoyoc’s office, no pesticides were detected and all metals that were detected fell “well below state standards.” Test results are available on the town’s website,

The town will continue to work with local farmers and landowners, including Mr. Bistrian and Mr. Dankowski, as well as Alex Balsam, a famer who heads the town’s agricultural advisory committee, and Corey Humphrey, the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District managaer, to develop long-term strategies to prevent dust storms in the future.

Legislature Approves Ban on Offshore Drilling

The New York State Legislature approved a ban on offshore drilling, New York State Senator Ken LaValle, who co-sponsored the measure, announced Tuesday, prohibiting offshore oil and gas production in the state.

“As the original lead sponsor of the legislation, I am pleased that the bill was approved by the Senate and Assemblym,” said Mr. LaValle. “We have painstakingly worked to preserve and protect our pristine waters, and we certainly do not want to imperil all of our efforts to maintain clean water by allowing drilling off our shoreline. I request that the Governor sign the bill into law, so we can further protect our waters.”

Specifically, the bill would amend Environmental Conservation Law § 23-1101 to prohibit the leasing of state-owned underwater coastal lands for oil and natural gas drilling and add a new § 23-1105 to prevent the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of General Services from authorizing leases that would result in the increase of oil or natural gas production from federal waters. In addition, the bill would amend the Transportation Corporations Law to restrict the powers of such corporations to develop pipelines associated with the delivery of natural gas or oil from the North Atlantic Planning Area.

Thiele Hosts Pet Food Drive

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. announced this week that he is once again accepting donations for his Pet Food Drive Challenge, in association with Long Island Cares’ Baxter’s Pet Pantry through Friday, March 29. This drive is focusing on collecting for the
family members most vulnerable to hunger, household pets. These pets include
dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, caged pets, fish, reptiles and all others
considered to be family members.

“Struggling families are often choosing between heating their homes, buying medications, or putting food on their tables,” said Mr. Thiele. “In addition, funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) does not include the purchase of pet food. Ultimately, beloved pets end up in shelters or are given away simply because their families can no longer
afford to feed them. With this drive, I once again hope to help alleviate some financial pressure and keep Long Island pets out of shelters and with their families.”

The donations most needed are 5 or 10 pound bags of dog and cat food (larger
bags are always accepted); canned dog and cat food; kitty litter; treats; new toys; and food for other pets including but not limited to reptiles, fish, ferrets and hamsters. Donations may be
dropped off at Mr. Thiele’s district office, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m.
and 5 p.m. The office is located at 2302 Main Street, Suite A, in Bridgehampton.