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New state bills would attack illegal dumping

State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins speaks about a package

State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins speaks about a package of bills that aim to crack down on illegal dumping and support the state's Superfund program at the Massapequa office of State Sen. John Brooks on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

State Senate Democrats, including two members from Long Island, introduced a package of bills Thursday to crack down on illegal dumping and support the state’s Superfund program, which uses federal dollars to clean up contaminated sites.

The bills, introduced at a news conference in Massapequa, are in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget, which cuts $330 million from the Superfund program. There are 34 Superfund sites on Long Island.

“For too long, illegal dumping and polluting has occurred on Long Island and across New York State,” said Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford).

Brooks’ bill would create a state grant program providing municipalities with up to $25,000 in funding, in part to install surveillance cameras where illegal dumping is a concern.

Last month, a state Supreme Court justice sentenced two men in connection with the dumping of tens of thousands of tons of contaminated construction debris at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, a small subdivision for veterans in Islandia, a wetland in Deer Park and a small plot in Central Islip.

Another bill, sponsored by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) would require a percentage of debris generated by state projects to be subject to recycling goals.

“Utilizing our significant market power, New York can decrease the overall level of construction and demolition debris as well as set the tone for a cleaner and more responsible future,” said Kaminsky.

Additional bills would increase the financial penalties for illegal dumping and allows the state to utilize liens to recover the costs needed to clean up contaminated properties.

Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif cited GOP efforts to secure $2.5 billion for clean water and an investment of $300 million in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

“No one is working harder on issues of public health and the environment than the Republicans who represent Long Island in the State Senate,” Rief said. “While Todd Kaminsky and John Brooks can call a press conference to talk about this issue, Senate Republicans are taking action and getting results.”

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