Sunday, September 21, 2014
Monday, August 25, 2014
Unfortunately, those communities were little more than a mere excuse to once again recommend an over-the-top knee jerk response. Predictably, one that the Army Corps and politicians have repeatedly employed for decades, with little regard for either Fire Island or the Mainlands' safety. We understood all too well the political concerns, but advocated strongly that the Army Corps not forego an exhaustive environmental analysis of all alternatives, and protect those most vulnerable areas with more than a plan to place sand on a beach that time after time and year after year just continues to wash away.
We were also deeply disturbed and expressed concerns that the recommendations of several other interested agencies were apparently strong-armed and diluted their dire concerns and were urged to endorse a project they had previously labeled as ineffective, destructive of flora and fauna, or had no reasonable expectation for any long term success.
We also understood then and now, that purely political decisions are rarely if ever reached based on any sound science, and the flawed FIMI plan is no exception. Our comments and concerns were developed over 18 months, and were based on solid science, research,and the belief that the decision to place sand along the barrier island between the Fire Island Lighthouse and Moriches Inlet (FIMI) would end up simply being another enormous waste of valuable resources, and would provide virtually no protection for the Mainland, but would actually create conditions that could place it in real peril.
We believe that the natural processes at work for centuries along our southern coast's barrier islands are still capable of restoring the dunes, if only the ACOE does not continue to deplete the ocean sand deposits necessary for that process through ill advised dredging. We strongly urged that the breach at Old Inlet remain open to clean our bays, and that the dunes and beaches destroyed in our public recreation areas at Smith Point, Moriches Inlet and the Robert Moses State Park be protected by an expeditious rebuild of those dune areas for protection of the communities on newly vulnerable mainland areas. However, we expressed our disbelief that the Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) line was re-drawn and tailored to skirt around homes in the Fire Island Pines. Clearly, the best solution was to draw the line based on science, and remove all structures that fell south of the line lying vulnerable to Atlantic seas. Once again a political decision and massive money influence prevented a solution geared to protect both the barrier island or the Mainland and simply catered once again to those loud special interest voices.
Yesterdays' NY Times editorial (below) echoes our concerns and speaks to the question all of us should have asked before the plan was approved...Nonetheless we should all now be asking again..."What and who are we really pretending to protect...and why"
By ROBERT S. YOUNG
AUG. 21, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
New York Times
The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
A Beach Project Built on Sand
EARLIER this month, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $207 million plan to dredge millions of tons of sand off the south shore of Long Island and spread it along the beaches and dunes. The Army Corps of Engineers, which will direct the federally financed project, says it will stabilize Fire Island and reduce the storm surge hazard for the mainland.
In fact, the project will do neither. It is a colossal waste of money and another consequence of the nation’s failure to develop a coherent plan to address the risks from storms faced by states along the eastern seaboard and gulf coast.
That failure was underscored in a report last month by the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which evaluated efforts by the Army Corps and other federal agencies to reduce those risks. The take-away from the National Research Council was alarming: There is no national plan to manage the coast. No plan for storm-damage reduction. No plan for how best to allocate federal funds. And no plan for how to respond to coastal hazards and rising sea levels over the long run.
This leaves governments reactive rather than proactive. Most money is provided only after a disaster occurs, and is to be used in the areas affected by that one storm. In some cases, government officials and politicians want to be seen doing something, anything, to protect valuable coastal properties. Unfortunately, science and reality have been ignored in the plan to rebuild storm-damaged beaches and dunes along 19 miles of Long Island’s South Shore, including Fire Island National Seashore.
Scientists from the United States Geological Survey have been studying the evolution of Fire Island for more than a decade. They have examined how the sediment moves, where it comes from, how the island’s shoreline changes and the way ocean waters move in front of and behind the island during storms. The results of these studies have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.
In its evaluation of the Army Corps’ draft Fire Island plan, the Geological Survey pointed out that the project’s justification and benefits were seriously flawed. The project will not reduce storm surge or storm hazards for properties across from Fire Island on the mainland, even though a significant portion of the cost justification for rebuilding the beaches and dunes came from protecting private property and infrastructure on the mainland. Why else would you spend so much to pump all that sand on the island?
The Army Corps’ environmental assessment made a broad assumption that Fire Island had been “damaged” by Hurricane Sandy and required repair and stabilization. But significant work over the years by coastal scientists at the Geological Survey has laid out a very clear picture of the long-term evolution of the island. Fire Island is a barrier island that does not require this project to “stabilize” it. The island and the national seashore have been relatively stable since colonial times.
Significant post-storm recovery of the island’s beaches has already occurred since Sandy. Natural reformation of the sand dunes will take longer, but nature is already repairing the island. Free of charge.
Fire Island is blessed with significant near-shore sand that has maintained shoreline stability over the years. This is the very sand that the Corps plans to dredge to build artificial dunes. The impacts of changing the natural flow of this sediment to the beach are unknown, but surprises are possible.
Dredge-and-fill projects like this are not environmentally benign. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service warned that the plan, in the short term, would hurt fish and wildlife and their supporting ecosystems, and would have long-term consequences on habitat and the island itself.
Of particular concern to some scientists and environmentalists is the habitat for piping plovers. These birds are listed by the Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened nationally and endangered within the State of New York. Storms like Hurricane Sandy actually create fabulous habitat for these birds in the storm deposits that sweep across Fire Island. But the proposed dune building will interrupt the development of that habitat.
Fire Island National Seashore is a perfect example of a place where storm impacts should be viewed as a natural event. Storms are an important part of barrier island sustainability. The waters that wash over the island also pile sand on top of the barrier, adding to the overall elevation of the island itself. The Corps’ proposed dunes will block that process.
It is hard to understand why this project was allowed to move forward without a more detailed investigation in the form of an environmental impact statement. The Corps relied on old science or no science to build a case for the benefits. The scientific criticism provided by other agencies was overwhelming but went largely unaddressed. Instead, the Corps will bury a national seashore, a state park and a county park in sand under the illusion that some properties in low-lying areas on the mainland might gain a small bit of protection.
This is the new post-Sandy model. We now favor political expediency over science, and action over a thoughtful evaluation of its long-term consequences.
Robert S. Young is a professor of coastal geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University.
A version of this op-ed appears in print on August 22, 2014, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: A Beach Project Built on Sand. ||
Saturday, August 16, 2014
Pattersquash duck hunters plan to build new island clubhouse
Friday, August 1, 2014
Below is a link to an article in Thursday’s Newsday (7/31/2014) about Bobby Stirling's bike being stolen. Nowhere in the article does it mention that Bobby is disabled. They also have the Post Morrow boatyard in Bellport instead of Brookhaven. And, under "Bellport Links," they have a picture of Sam Newey at his boatyard here in Brookhaven, NY.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Friday, July 4, 2014
From: Richard Thomas
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2014 12:12 AM
Subject: LI Trash Piles Up - Considering Shipment by Rail
There was an article in this morning’s Newsday about a garbage transportation crisis on Long Island.
Omni Recycling of Babylon can’t find enough trucks to get the garbage off Long Island.
Why can’t they find enough trucks?
Well, it’s because of the success of the Brookhaven Rail Terminal.
What to do? What to do?
After puzzling over their problem for a while, they came up with a solution:
Load the garbage onto railroad cars instead.
So they are proposing loading the garbage into railcars “at a rail spur for freight.”
Progressive Waste Solutions, which handles garbage from Southold and East Hampton Towns, says its transfer station in Yaphank is filled to capacity.
Then there was this follow-up story this evening. (See below.)
Another firm involved is Eastern Resources Recycling of 88 Old Dock Rd, Yaphank. (That’s where a body of a 42-year-old Rocky Point man was found in the trash in August 2012, two days after his birthday.)
Although the DEC seems to be open to a plan to use railcars, there is disagreement regarding what location to use to load the garbage onto the cars.
(I guess it will have to be someone near the overflowing transfer stations, like the one in Yaphank.)
In choosing a site, they have to recognize that:
. . . the looming LIRR strike is a factor because it would effectively shut down all but the Brookhaven rail terminal, carters and rail sources say.
Even though this crisis developed just a couple of days before Independence Day – what unfortunate timing – and thus requires an immediate emergency decision, the DEC did not allow itself to be pressured into saying Brookhaven Rail can move the garbage.
Not today anyway.
It isn’t clear how they get the garbage to the transfer stations or propose to get it from the transfer stations to the railcars.
I’m pretty sure they are using trucks.
I guess you need a different kind of truck to get off Long Island than the kind of truck used to move the garbage from East Hampton to Yaphank.
If the truck can make it all the way from Southold to Yaphank, or all the way from East Hampton to Yaphank, you would think the truck could go a bit farther, --- to New Jersey maybe.
Then all that garbage wouldn’t be piling up on Long Island. It would pile up in New Jersey instead.
Happy Independence Day!
No pact on garbage removal plan
July 3, 2014 by SARAH CRICHTON / email@example.com
Efforts to resolve a garbage stockpile before the long weekend failed Thursday after agreement could not be reached on a site from which the trash could be loaded on to railcars to leave Long Island.
That standoff means the piles of trash will continue to grow. In the towns of Southold and East Hampton alone, more than 900 tons of garbage is likely to be generated for collection and transportation this weekend -- a peak tourist time, carting industry sources say.
As a proposed quick fix to take it off the Island using sealed railcars awaits emergency authorization from the state, the governor's office intervened Thursday, scheduling a conference call Monday morning involving all the parties -- representatives from the affected garbage collection and management firms, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and New York & Atlantic Railway, the Long Island rail freight franchisee.
New York & Atlantic has concerns over selection of an appropriate rail-truck depot site at which to load the garbage onto railcars.
Several sites are under consideration, sources said:
An MTA-owned Hicksville transfer station in Nassau that could take 10 railcars' worth of garbage a day off the Island, but requires all the waste to be trucked to Nassau.
A passing track adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road commuter train station in Yaphank where New York & Atlantic could provide at least a dozen cars a day.
A privately owned rail spur in Medford, but sources said negotiations had yet to begin with that land owner.
The privately owned Brookhaven Rail Terminal site at Sills Road in Yaphank.
This last option -- a facility that provides distance from the main LIRR track and is in an industrial area away from residences -- is under a cloud after allegations by the Town of Brookhaven that its operators are illegally mining sand from an adjacent property on to which they hope to expand their facility.
Eric Jakubowski, chief commercial officer at Anacostia Rail Holdings, New York & Atlantic's parent company, demurred when asked to name which site his firm deemed most appropriate yesterday.
"The New York & Atlantic Railway has only recently become involved and we're working with a number of partners to try to clarify the best options," he said by phone from Chicago.
"A specific loading site has to be confirmed and that may wind up being a privately-owned site if it's shown that's the best site to handle the volume expeditiously," he said.
While the garbage companies say a private site would cost more to remove the backlog, time is of the essence because it's estimated it could take a month to clear the current stockpile. In addition, the looming LIRR strike is a factor because it would effectively shut down all but the Brookhaven rail terminal, carters and rail sources say.
The garbage -- estimated at between 10,000 to 12,000 tons as of Thursday -- is stockpiling at town transfer stations on the East End and at several collection and transfer facilities in Suffolk, including two owned and operated by Progressive Waste Solutions, a publicly-owned Canadian company.
A spokesman for Progressive on Long Island, said he was hopeful of a breakthrough next week, but declined further comment.
Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the state DEC -- which regulates garbage -- said in an emailed statement: "DEC is actively working to help find a solution to the backlog of waste on eastern Long Island."
Michael White, attorney for Omni Recycling of Babylon, which is coordinating the effort on behalf of the affected garbage management firms, was disappointed at the failure to reach a decision Thursday. "This is an unfortunate delay, coming as it is over a peak garbage-generating weekend on the East End, but I'm optimistic an agreement can be reached," he said.
State environmental law and regulations hold the generator of solid waste responsible for its proper disposal. But if the waste en route passes into ownership of a permitted interim facility, those facilities assume the legal responsibility. That puts the onus in this crisis on Progressive and Omni, as well as Yaphank-based Eastern Resource, also a transfer station operator on the East End.
The three firms had until recently used a network of flatbed-trucking companies to haul their baled garbage off the Island. Representatives of both Progressive and Omni said Thursday they continued to work to make use of available trucking firms, but a dearth of flatbeds -- caused in large part by the success of the BRT operation in Yaphank -- meant there remained insufficient long-haul trucks available on Long Island to clear the mounting garbage backlog.
Toll increases on metro-area bridges have increased the price of road freight to the Island dramatically in recent years -- and owing to the damage they make to roads, trucks crossing onto the Island are limited to 80,000 pounds of weight unless they get special dispensation from the state transportation department.
A U.S. Department of Transportation matrix estimates one railcar can move roughly the equivalent amount of freight as four 18-wheelers.