State Won’t Appeal Sand Land Court Loss

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

The New York State Attorney General’s office has declined to file an appeal seeking to overturn a ruling that nullified a controversial Noyac sand mine’s permit, but the court battle is not over yet.

Attorneys for Sand Land have filed a motion asking the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to hear arguments in the case.

“This is a major victory for water quality and the environment,” state Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) said of state Attorney General Letitia James’ office declining to continue defending the case.

The Town of Southampton had sued the DEC, arguing that the permit ran afoul of town code prohibiting mines. A Suffolk County court ruled last year that the mine’s permit was valid but an appeals court panel had ruled in May that the state Department of Environmental Conservation had violated state environmental law when it granted a permit for the expansion of the Sand Land mine in 2018.

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. Neighbors have also raised concerns that the mine has been operating after the court ruling and the town issuing a stop-work order.

James’ office declined to comment on the case. Thiele urged the DEC to immediately shut down the mine. The DEC appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.

“As the matter is currently subject to litigation, DEC cannot comment at this time,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

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