Riverhead, NY– All 18 member ofthe Suffolk County Legislature today signed onto a letter requesting theDistrict Attorney seek full restitution for future findings of guilt in casesinvolving illegal dumping. The letter, whichwas authored by Parks Committee Chairwoman Kara Hahn, comes on the same daylegislators approved Introductory Resolution 1627-2017, a bill authorizing$750,000 to remove toxic and hazardous materials illegally dumped within WestHills County Park in 2016.
Acting“out of deference to our taxpayers” who “have already invested mightily” topreserve these public lands, the reads as follows:
Dear DistrictAttorney Spota,
We all have been shocked, saddened and dismayed by the repeated discoveries of illegally dumped material within our protected lands over these past three years. The degradation of these majestic treasures by individuals and corporations solely motivated by greed defiles the commitment that we have made to their protection and to our residents’ health and quality of life. However, beyond the physical and environmental damages caused by illegal dumping, there is the financial impact to local governments and its taxpayers who must bear the costs of remediation.
Out ofdeference to our taxpayers, we request that for all future findings of guilt incases involving illegal dumping, your office’s plea bargain agreements andsentencing recommendations also includefull restitution for the guilty party to pay all cleanup and remediationcosts.
As a County we have worked to increase penalties for illegal dumping, now allowing for sentences of both incarceration and fines for convictions of specific offenses. Despite this, and other initiatives, however, more can and must be done to protect the public from having to fund cleanup efforts on land, that in some circumstances they have already invested mightily to preserve. Wherever possible it should be the perpetrators of these crimes who are held financially responsible, not those who have entrusted government with the awesome responsibility of protecting our public lands.
We know you and the prosecutors within youroffice are equally offended by the contempt shown to all of us by thosechoosing to illegally dump upon our open spaces and are committing to seekingtheir full prosecutions. We continue tothank you for this and are equally as committed to ensuring those who desecratepublic lands are held to account.