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Source: Newsday

Pavers urge executive to veto coal tar ban

Posted: June 23, 2011
Originally Published: June 22, 2011

Paving industry officials Wednesday pressed Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy to veto a bill banning coal tar sealers for driveways and parking lots, saying the product does no environmental harm and that a ban would cost local jobs.

The pavers told a county executive hearing in Hauppauge that local waterways have not suffered from coal tar contamination and that the product has not affected worker health. Customers say the sealer works better than alternative products that do not last as long, the critics said, adding that mixes not using coal tar are more expensive.

"The consumer will pay a hefty price if this law is passed," said Rudy Fusco, owner of Mr. Parking Lot of Deer Park, which uses coal tar sealers. But representatives of environmental groups, including the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, Group for the East End and Concerned Citizens for the Environment, hailed the ban as a crucial step to protect rivers, bays and estuaries.

"Coal tar is a poison to our marine system and economic health," said Maureen Dolan Murphy of Citizens Campaign. "Not banning this product has already resulted in lost jobs. . . . These jobs include those who make a living in marine trades, the fishing industry and recreational uses of our waters."

Mark Smith, a Levy spokesman, said the county executive has not made a decision and has until July 7 to act.