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Firm Obtains Ruling Restricting D.E.C.’S Authority to Issue Long Island Sand Mine Expansion Permit

Firm litigation partner Zachary Murdock, representing neighbors opposing expansion of mining in the 50-acre “Sand Land” sand mine in the Southampton hamlet of Noyac, obtained a significant ruling by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Chief Administrative Law Judge in a proceeding by the mine’s owner seeking to expand its permitted mining area by 4.9 acres and to excavate the floor of its mine 40′ deeper than currently allowed. The firm’s clients, joined by the Town of Southampton, argued among other things that the DEC was precluded from considering Sand Land’s application by a provision of the Environmental Conservation Law that, to help safeguard the sole source aquifer, prohibits the DEC from processing permit applications for mines in Long Island municipalities if local zoning laws or ordinances prohibit mining uses within the area proposed to be mined. The Chief Administrative Law Judge rejected the owner’s argument that the statutory preclusion applied only to the initial permit obtained for the mine. The proceeding was suspended pending a determination by the Town Supervisor as to whether the proposed expansion is legal under the Town Code. In the Matter of Sand Land Corporation, DEC Permit Application ID No. 1-4736-00851/00003, “Ruling of the Chief Administrative Law Judge on Threshold Procedural Issue,” issued January 26, 2018.