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Source: The Village Patch

Advocacy Group: Burning Debris Worsened Conditions Surrounding Landfill

Citizens Campaign for the Environment says the DEC and Suffolk County were "indifferent to protecting public health" in the towns surrounding the Brookhaven landfill, where debris from Hurricane Sandy is being burned.


Posted: February 28, 2013
Originally Published: February 28, 2013

The environmental advocacy group Citizens Campaign for the Environment has called Suffolk County and the state Department of Environmental Conservation "lethargic" and "indifferent" in caring for the health of the communities surrounding the Town of Brookhaven landfill with regard to the air curtain destroyers being used to burn vegetative debris from Hurricane Sandy.

In a letter dated Feb. 24 to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, CCE said both the county and the DEC ignored data that suggested the air curtain destroyers were posing a risk to the communities surrounding the town landfill, which is located in Yaphank.

"Suffolk County wanted a quick, cheap and easy way to get rid of the debris. Tragically, cheap, easy and quick doesn’t mean safe,” Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in a statement.

CCE cited Environmental Protection Agency findings that "small particulate matter released from burning of vegetated debris causes adverse health impacts including increased asthma attacks, respiratory ailments, heart attacks and breathing difficulties."

In response, Lisa King, a spokeswoman for the DEC, said in a statement to Patch: "DEC's Division of Air Resources is currently reviewing the air quality monitoring data developed by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works."

Suffolk County officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"We could smell and taste the ash. We don’t really need the data to tell us our health was put at risk,” Kathleen Lacey, a member of the Brookhaven Community Executive Board, said in a statement.

CCE praised town supervisor Ed Romaine, who had previously pledged to stop using the air curtain destroyers if they became a threat to the residents' health, when he did not seek to renew the DEC permit for use of the air curtain destroyers that expired Feb. 12.