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Brookhaven investigates rogue gas station

Daniel J. Panico, Republican candidate for Brookhaven Councilman,

Daniel J. Panico, Republican candidate for Brookhaven Councilman, 6th District. (June 28, 2011) Credit: Newsday file / David Pokress

Brookhaven Town officials are investigating who assembled a makeshift gas station -- including a tank and electric pump -- on the sovereign Poospatuck Indian Reservation in Mastic.

Town officials, who have no authority on reservation land, are trying to determine who set up the gas station and if it is operational.

"This is like a neighbor opening up a 7-Eleven in a residential area," said Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico.

A homemade sign placed at the intersection of Mastic Road and Eleanor Avenue this week read "Gas $3.89 a gallon," town officials said.

When a Brookhaven Town fire marshal stopped by the station on Tuesday, another sign read: "Out of gas sorry," Panico said.

Unkechaug Chief Harry Wallace said a longtime tribal member who lives on the reservation is responsible for the gas station. The tribal member could not be reached for comment.

He was authorized to deliver home heating fuel to several residents, but, "He wasn't authorized to sell gasoline," Wallace said, noting that the tribal member has ignored requests from tribal members to not sell gasoline and the tribal council has asked county law enforcement to intervene.

Panico said he hopes the issue will soon be resolved.

The opening of a makeshift gas station poses several safety, health and environmental problems, the councilman said.

But the reservation is not subject to Brookhaven zoning laws, Panico said.

The councilman said he has called Assemb. Dean Murray, Suffolk County Legis. Kate Browning, Wallace and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation about the issue.

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