State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has been joined by State Senator Anthony Palumbo in asking New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos to enforce a recent New York State Appellate Division ruling that declared a sandmining permit issued to the Sand Land mine off Middle Line Highway in Noyac as null and void.
After the court’s May ruling, Mr. Thiele said the DEC, instead of enforcing the decision, sought to challenge it, going so far as to take the position that it had the right to an automatic stay of the ruling. But last month, State Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office would no longer defend the DEC’s position in the Sand Land case.
In a letter to Mr. Seggos this week, the legislators wrote, “Our constituents rightfully question how Sand Land, without a valid permit, continues to operate since May in the face of the Appellate Division decision. They see robust State DEC enforcement when a residential wetlands permit is violated or a commercial fishing quota exceeded, but Sand Land continues to thumb its nose at the Appellate Division decision, while the State DEC stands idly by.”
Sand Land, which is operated by Wainscott Sand and Gravel, has been in the crosshairs of Southampton Town government, neighbors, and environmental groups for a decade over concerns that the sandmining operation, which is on land above the deepest portion of the town’s aquifer, was polluting the groundwater, a charge Sand Land has denied.
“We sincerely hope your decision to not defend the permits annulled by the Appellate Division, also means that you will vigorously enforce the law in this case where mining activity continues without a valid permit. We urge you to immediately close this mine,” the legislators concluded.