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Environmentalists urge voters to dump Suffolk lawmakers

An environmental political action committee, in an unusual move, has taken bipartisan aim in urging voters to dump every incumbent on the Suffolk Legislature on Election Day.

The Long Island Environmental Voters Forum’s anti-incumbent stance is aimed eight Democratic lawmakers and five Republicans. Forum officials are upset that county lawmakers have tried to undo land preservation laws that require public input into how money is spent through a referendum.

Forum officials say the lawmakers voted to appeal a court ruling upholding the referendum requirement on the farmland program and backed state legislation to allow development on land to which the county has bought development rights without a referendum.

Incumbent lawmakers opposed a home rule message earlier this year to back proposed state legislation that would have given the voters through public referendum the option of providing grants for high-tech septic systems for homeowners, forum officials say.

“The public will not stand and should not stand for this bait and switch by their elected representatives,” said Richard Amper, forum president.

The un-endorsement covers Democrats DuWayne Gregory, the presiding officer; his deputy Rob Calarco; Kara Hahn; Sarah Anker; Bridget Fleming; Al Krupski; William Spencer and William Lindsay III.

The forum also urges voters to dump Republican caucus leader Kevin McCaffrey; Tom Cilmi; Leslie Kennedy; Tom Muratore and Rob Trotta.

Gregory said the legislature “has a bipartisan record of supporting environment and to end conversation over one or two issues”is unfortunate.” He said Amper’s effort to press for a water tax met more opposition in Albany than from county lawmakers.

McCaffrey said the forum had gone too far.

“I think Dick is taking it to the extreme,” McCaffrey said of Amper. “I care as much about the environment as he does but I also understand the reality of life has to continue here on Long Island.”

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