Environmentalists expressed anger late last week that County Attorney Dennis Brown will seek to appeal a unanimous appellate ruling that upheld a county legisalative act that requires a new voter referendum if the county wants to change a provision of the water protection law.
Brown, who met in executive session with county lawmakers late last month, said the county filed papers to overturn the decsion Thursday. He said the referendum clauses are illegal because they would improperly tie the hands of future legislatures which should have the power to make changes on their own. He said the ruling could affect measures with similar referendum requirements including a county tax cap law and the law that forces lawmakers to provide offsets if they want add to the capital budget.
Richard Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said Bellone is showing that is not an environementalist. The mandate for referendums, Amper said, was intended to aprotect the public from politicians raiding environmental funds to plug holes in their bloated budgets.a Now, he said, Bellone is aindistinguishable from Steve Levy,a the former county executive who also raided Pine Barrens money.