Town Board Chooses $ over Health and Welfare of Community
In a move that affects the quality of life and health of thousands of residents of Yaphank, Brookhaven, Bellport and Medford, the Board callously voted to request the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to approve a modification to the Town's landfill permit allowing an additional fifty feet in height. Only Councilperson Connie Keppert voted against the proposal. The landfill is in Ms. Keppert's district.
The action was taken, according to Town officials, to increase revenue to the Town and avoid raising taxes. The landfill is used by municipalities throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties for the disposal of ash and construction debris.
According to testimony at the Board hearing, a Town waste disposal surtax averaging just $20 per year per household would more than compensate for the additional income that would accrue. Instead, thousands of residents of south Brookhaven are burdened with offensive odors, dust, and water pollution—a burden not born by residents in other sections of the Town (or elsewhere on Long Island for that matter). "Everyone in the town benefits from the landfill financially, but only a few suffer," said Adrienne Esposito of the Brookhaven Community Coalition.
Community members address the Board
Several residents indicated that the landfill fees had enabled the election of politicians for years; the Town politicians are like those with a drug addiction; it was time for them to go into rehab. Unfortunately, like many with addictions, they have not recognized this.
Loony MathSeveral residents pointed out that the Town had repeatedly lied to residents. In 2002, Town officials had indicated that the landfill only had 17 years left Now, ten years later, with mountains of trash deposited, Town official indicated that there was still seventeen years of life to the landfill, even without the additional 50 feet. . Did the Town have some magical means of beaming trash to the moon?
Town officials also admitted that the additional 50 feet would have no immediate impact on revenue, as it would take over a year to prepare the site. The principal effect, it seems, would be to extend the life of the landfill for another two years.
Brookhaven Town landfill employees
Is the DEC an Enabler?Unfortunately, the State Department of Environmental Conservation may be more of an enabler than a healer. Rather than enforcing the law and ordering the Town to establish a firm date to close the landfill, it's history seems to be that of allowing the Town politicians to continue to punt down the field.
No Plans for a Phase-outIt was also clear that the the Town had no plans. or even a road map, for the inevitable closure of the landfill. Since there are apparently no engineering reasons why the capacity of the landfill cannot be further expanded in the future, they seem to be counting on short public memories which will allow them the continued rape of the community and our environment.
Other resources:Newday Article
Long Island (Patchogue) Advance story
Brookhaven Community Coalition, a diverse partnership of stakeholder organizations who strive to safeguard and enhance our communities quality of life. Originally formed in March 2011 as the Stop the Sludge (STS) Coalition to stop bio-solid wastewater sludge from being further disposed of at the Town of Brookhaven Landfill. its mission has expanded to concentrate on other issues that are affecting our neighborhoods' health and safety.