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Letter: Suffolk U-turn on water protection

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Oct. 18,

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Oct. 18, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's decision to appeal a state Appellate Division ruling is not just hypocrisy -- it threatens our water. The Appellate Division determined on Nov. 12 that taking money from Suffolk's Drinking Water Protection Program without asking the voters was illegal.

Six times, voters have authorized in a referendum the use of a quarter-cent of sales tax to protect our drinking and surface waters, which are threatened by increasing pollution. Each time, the referendum has stated that the water protection program can only be altered by another referendum. Bellone has repeatedly said protecting water is his top priority, and he helped put a proposition requiring this on the November ballot. It was approved by voters, two-to-one.

By appealing the appellate court ruling, Bellone's essentially now saying that it's OK for government to raid the water fund! If that's so, how can we protect our water, and how can we ever trust Bellone again?

Richard Amper, Riverhead

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, a nonprofit environmental education and advocacy group that brought the litigation.