Noyac Mine Plows Ahead Despite Court Ruling

Surveillance camera footage of crews operating at the Sand Land mine in Noyac on June 7. (Courtesy of Noyac Civic Council)

A New York State appeals court recently issued a ruling invalidating a Noyac sand mine’s permit, but the mine is continuing to operate anyway, much to the chagrin of its residential neighbors.

Surveillance camera footage shared with Dan’s Papers shows heavy machinery still working at the mine, Sand Land, more than a week after the May 27 ruling. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he personally observed work continuing at the mine on June 7—three days after the town issued a stop-work order for mining at the site.

“Clearly they’re ignoring the stop work order,” Schneiderman said. “That is evidenced by what I saw yesterday. I observed it myself.”

A panel of judges with the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court, Third Judicial Department, had overturned a lower court’s September ruling that affirmed the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit allowing Sand Land to operate.

The DEC said it was reviewing the ruling. Sand Land, which could potentially appeal to the state Court of Appeals—the highest court in the state—could not be reached for comment.

The appellate division effectively ruled that the DEC erred in granting the permit allowing Sand Land to operate in a town where mining is prohibited. The mine has raised concerns that it could impact drinking water quality by removing sand that filters water seeping into the aquifer from where water is drawn. 

“The DEC cares nothing about the rule of law and even less about protecting our groundwater,” said state Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor). “Sand Land is operating without a permit. The DEC should close the mine.”

Neighbors were equally angered.

“The Department of Environmental Conservation is not living up to its title,” said Elena Loreto, president of the Noyac Civic Council. “It is supposed to protect the environment. This is a case where the DEC is doing the opposite by ignoring the court’s ruling.”

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