Your drinking water is at risk.
Suffolk County politicians are trying to raid the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program again.
While everyone was home and grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Suffolk County politicians quietly circulated a resolution that would raid our Drinking Water Protection Program yet again. Well, we noticed and we’re taking a stand.
Suffolk County Proposal #2 / Resolution 547-2020 would move “excess funds” in the Drinking Water Protection Program Fund to the Suffolk County Taxpayers Trust Fund, a general fund. “Excess” does not refer to funds that are not needed to protect drinking water of county residents. Instead, “excess funds” are those that have not yet been spent.
A vote AGAINST Suffolk County Prop #2…
- Would enforce a court ruling that requires the repayment of millions of dollars illegally raided from the Drinking Water Protection Program Fund
- Would ensure the availability of money to protect residents’ drinking water
- Would maintain enough money in the tax stabilization fund to assist taxpayers in existing and new sewer districts
A vote FOR Suffolk County Ballot Prop #2…
- Would move funds from the Drinking Water Protection Program to a general fund, which can be used for whatever politicians want.
- Would “forgive” the repayment of tens of millions of dollars back to the water protection fund, that had been illegally raided from the water protection fund to the general fund, which can be used for whatever politicians want.
Long Island is Facing a Public Health Crisis
Long Island has the most contaminated water in the state. It also has some of the highest concentrations of nitrogen in our groundwater in the country. This is a public health crisis! We need these funds now, more than ever.
Suffolk County has 360,000 individual septic systems and cesspools in the ground. These systems were never designed to remove nitrogen, so instead, they leach nitrogen and other chemicals into our groundwater, which eventually makes its way to our surface waters. Excess nitrogen in our waters has led to the proliferation of harmful algae blooms (brown tide, red tide, rust tide, etc.) that destroy our marine environment and economy.
The good news is, we know the solution! We need to replace these old, polluting systems with new nitrogen-removing technology and in some areas, sewers.
A History of Illegal Raids
The Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program (DWPP) was created by voters in 1987 by an 87% majority. It uses a ¼-percent in sales tax to fund important water quality improvement initiatives, the preservation of open space, and control taxes for those in sewer districts. The voters decided the precise formulas for spending that money,
Suffolk County politicians under the leadership of both County Executive Steve Levy and Steve Bellone, violated those formulas and raided the Drinking Water Protection Program in 2011 and 2013, to fill holes in the County’s bloated budget.
The Long Island Pine Barrens Society sued and we won. Every court in New York State, all the way up to the State’s Court of Appeals, agreed that funds designated by the voters for drinking water protection can not be used for other purposes without a voter referendum. The courts also ordered that Suffolk County must repay the tens of millions of dollars raided from the Drinking Water Fund.
What was Suffolk County’s solution to this court-ordered repayment? They put a ballot proposition on your ballot, asking for your permission not to return this money. It is preposterous!
Strength in Numbers
Join a broad coalition of local environmental groups, civic organizations and elected leaders and stand against further raids to our Drinking Water Protection Program!
Those who have spoken out against this proposal include:
- Long Island Pine Barrens Society
- Citizens Campaign for the Environment
- Group for the East End
- Long Island Environmental Voters Forum
- Peconic Baykeeper
- Seatuck Environmental Association
- Save the Great South Bay
- Sierra Club, Long Island
- The Surfrider Foundation – Eastern Long Island Chapter
- The Foggiest Idea
- Four Harbors Audubon Society
- North Fork Environmental Council
- North Fork Audubon Society
- Defend H2O
- Save the Sound
- New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright
- Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine
OCTOBER 19, 2020 – NEWSDAY EDITORIAL BOARD SAYS VOTE “NO” ON PROP 2 – Read here.