Judge Sides With Sand Land Opponents

A New York State Supreme Court justice, on May 31, issued a preliminary injunction against the Sand Land mining and composting facility in Noyac and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, temporarily preventing the company from expanding its sand mining operations.

Southampton Town, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, environmental and civic groups, and neighbors had filed suit in April after the DEC, which in September 2018 announced it would not review Sand Land’s mining permits, reversed course in March and agreed to allow the company to mine for another eight years and expand both the depth and area of the area to be mined.

Opponents have long argued that Sand Land’s operations, which were expanded over the years to include the recycling of construction debris and the composting of stumps, leaves, and other vegetative waste, posed a threat to the groundwater. Those concerns only were amplified when a study by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services revealed elevated levels of the heavy metals lead and manganese and other pollutants at the site.

The injunction, issued by Justice James LaFerriere, prevents Sand Land from expanding its mined area from 31 to 34 acres in area or digging 40 feet deeper as allowed by the DEC, pending the outcome of the current lawsuit and notes that the plaintiffs “have demonstrated a probability of success on the merits of their challenge to the settlement and renewal permit.”

Thiele called the decision “a major victory for the environment, our drinking water, and the community at large,” and said he was confident when the case is heard, the mine will be closed.

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