Press Release Archives

Group Receives Grant to Keep Pharmaceuticals Out Of Local Waters

December 6, 2011 (Suffolk County, New York) – In November, Group for the East End received a $45K grant through the Suffolk Couty 1/4 percent sales tax “Drinking Water Protection Program” to implement the Pharmaceutical Disposal and Aquifer Protection Initiative within the five East End towns of Long Island.

The initiative addresses the environmental and human health impacts of improper disposal of medications by providing East End police departments with lock boxes where residents can properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications. In addition, the initiative seeks to fund a public outreach and education campaign to reach the approximately 88,000 households that make up Riverhead, Southold, Southampton, Shelter Island and East Hampton Towns.

Long Island is quickly coming to terms with the impacts of pharmaceutical contamination in our waters. Exposure and health effects are not limited to human populations but are well documented in natural systems. According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, 75 percent of the wastewater entering our drinking water in Suffolk County comes from domestic cesspools. While greater study is required, the need to reduce inputs is understood.

“Getting medications out of the traditional waste stream is the easiest, most cost-effective way to protect both human and environmental health,” said Jeremy Samuelson, a Group for the East End Environmental Advocate who is leading the project. “People understand that the decades-old practice of dumping these chemicals into our drinking water cannot continue, but they also need accessible alternatives. The lock box program is a model that has worked in other communities, including western Suffolk.”

The five East End towns program will mirror and interface with a pharmaceutical lock box program launched by the Suffolk County Police Department in 2010. More than 900 pounds of medications were collected during the first six months of that ongoing program, dubbed Operation Medicine Cabinet.

The Pharmaceutical Disposal and Aquifer Protection Initiative enjoys broad support from six police departments, S.C.W.A., Riverhead Water District, the Suffolk County Cancer Awareness Taskforce, Fighting Change, numerous environmental advocacy organizations, addiction treatment and intervention agencies, and healthcare service providers.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |

A Good Week for Preservation

Group Applauds Preservation of 450 Acres in Southampton and Riverhead Towns

October 24, 2011 (Suffolk County, New York) – Group for the East End applauds the recent preservation of two large parcels of land in eastern Long Island. These parcels account for about 450 acres in Southampton and Riverhead towns. Their preservation represents a critical collaboration between County and local governments and the consistent advocacy of conservation organizations.

Most significant to the work of Group for the East End, approximately 150 acres was recently preserved in East Quogue through a partnership between Suffolk County and Southampton Town. The Group was consistently involved in the review of a subdivision plan for the parcel, known as the Links, and we advocated strongly for preservation because the parcel lies within the Pine Barrens Core and Compatible Growth Areas.

“The parcel known as the Links in East Quogue is a valuable groundwater recharge area and is adjacent to already-preserved land, making it a prime extension of wildlife habitat and migratory corridors,” said Jenn Hartnagel, an Environmental Advocate with Group for the East End.

On October 12th, Suffolk County joined with Riverhead Town to purchase approximately 330 acres, known as the “North Fork Preserve.” Group for the East End and other conservation representatives were on hand to support the Suffolk County Legislature’s approval of the measure, which will preserve the parcel as a County Park. Half of the property will be actively used for recreation (e.g., camping) and the other half will be strictly for passive recreation (e.g., hiking trails) to protect sensitive habitat and wetlands.

“There are not too many large parcels of undeveloped land left on Long Island,” said Ms. Hartnagel. “If our region is to realize the full potential of local and County land protection programs, it is important to secure the last undeveloped tracts of land while they are still available.”

“These critical land preservation accomplishments are a major victory for East Enders as well as the elected officials who represent their interests. Even in hard times, Long Islanders have consistently supported the land protection that can still be achieved through funds that voters have dedicated to this specific purpose,” said Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End. “We are glad to have been a part of this major preservation accomplishment and lend our support and appreciation to all those who worked to bring these efforts to fruition.”

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |

East End Artists Benefit Local Environmental Protection

Environmental Art Sale at Group for the East End North Fork Office through Labor Day

Southold, New York (August 25, 2011) – An art exhibit featuring local landscapes and natural elements of eastern Long Island is now open to the public at the North Fork office of Group for the East End (54895 Route 25, Southold). Featured artists are donating 30% of their art sales to the local nonprofit, which is dedicated to protecting and restoring the environment of eastern Long Island. Members of the public can view and purchase artwork from Monday through Friday, between 10:00AM and 4:00PM or by appointment, through Labor Day.

“Anyone is invited to stop by and see nine beautiful works by Cynthia Loewen, Joan Tripp, Phyllis Chillingworth, Mary Milne and Gene Samuelson. These East End artists find their inspiration in the local environment, so if you love the East End, you will enjoy these paintings and glass works,” said Judy Christrup, Director of Development at Group for the East End.

A cocktail party reception opened the show on Saturday, August 20th, with local artists and environmentalists in attendance including: Bob DeLuca, Judy Christrup, Lillian Ball, Hugh Switzer, Robert Dunn, MaryAnn Liberatore, Sid Holmes, Joan Hughes and Sue Bieger. A beautiful musical ambiance was provided by Lea Kendall on keyboard to make for a delightful evening.

Artists who showed their work on Saturday night were: Cynthia Loewen, Ted Asnis, Joan Tripp, Lynn Martell, Phyllis Chillingworth, Mary Milne, Gene Samuelson, Anna Franklin and Bruce Milne.

Group for the East End protects and restores the environment of eastern Long Island, New York through education, citizen action and professional advocacy. The organization was founded in 1972 as Group for the South Fork. More information can be found at www.eastendenvironment.org.

Contact:
Kate Fullam, Director of Community Outreach
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |

$20 Could Win You a 2-Seater Electric Car

Southold, New York (August 22, 2011) – Stop into Group for the East End’s North Fork Office at 54895 Route 25 in Southold anytime now through Friday, September 9, and you could win a 2-seater electric GEM car for just $20! Proceeds will benefit the environmental protection programs of Group for the East End. To purchase tickets, visit the North Fork office or call 631-765-6450, ext. 215 or 208.

“It looks like a cooler version of a golf cart!” said one passerby of the GEM car last Saturday during the Southold Village Merchants Fair. Many people were able to see the vehicle first-hand that day, and Group for the East End will park the car on the front lawn of their office on most sunny weekdays between now and Labor Day for others to take a close look as well. The GEM car was donated to Group for the East End by an anonymous donor. It is a 2002 model with less than 350 miles on the odometer.

Electric vehicles do not emit harmful pollutants like gasoline-operated vehicles do, so they are better for the environment than traditional cars. The GEM car, made by a division of DaimlerChrysler, has become a popular option for municipalities who wish to reduce air pollution by “greening” their fleets. These cars have also been used on college campuses and in airports as shuttles. They have a “turf” and “road” setting for people living in golf communities. East End GEM car owners often use them for village shopping and easy trips to the beach. They are street legal in speed limits 35 mph or less (when registered and insured) and can travel up to 25 mph and up to 300 miles in one charge.

“GEM vehicles cost just pennies a day to operate. The cost of ownership is one third of their gasoline-powered counterparts, while their fuel efficiency is eight times greater,” said GEM COO and President, Rick Kasper.

Though electric vehicles have zero emissions during driving, it is important to note that the generation of electricity does produce emissions that can contribute to poor air quality in our region. If you can charge your electric car using the energy produced from solar panels, you could make an even more positive environmental impact!

Group for the East End protects and restores the environment of eastern Long Island, New York through education, citizen action and professional advocacy. The organization was founded in 1972 as Group for the South Fork. More information can be found at www.eastendenvironment.org.

Contact:
Kate Fullam
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |

East Hampton Village Plastic Bag Ban Will Reduce Litter on the East End

August 1, 2011 (East Hampton, New York) – Last week, Group for the East End was on hand as East Hampton Village became the second municipality on Long Island to ban single-use plastic shopping bags from stores within its jurisdiction. The only other municipality to take such action is Southampton Village.

Group for the East End Environmental Advocate Jenn Hartnagel has collaborated over the past year with local municipalities as well as citizens, who are concerned about the plastic debris that can be found along roadways, in trees, and floating in the water on the East End. A ban on plastic bags was initially proposed throughout Suffolk County, but the measure was not approved.

“It is very gratifying to see local municipalities picking up where Suffolk County left off on the plastic bag ban,” said Hartnagel. “This law is so important to reducing litter and protecting local wildlife that commonly ingest or become entangled in these bags.”

The U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration states that one million seabirds and 100,000 mammals die from ocean debris around the world, not to mention, “lingering and permanent effects of the petroleum based toxic chemicals” from plastic litter.

To allow time for local retailers to make the change, this legislation will go into effect at the end of this year. The plastic bags affected by the law include single-use bags commonly used in grocery stores.

Group for the East End protects and restores eastern Long Island’s environment through education, citizen action and professional advocacy. We inspire people to embrace a conservation ethic. www.eastendenvironment.org

Contact:
Kate Fullam
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |

Group Applauds Passage of Improved Planned Development District Law

Southampton Town Now Guarded Against Irresponsible Commercial Development

May 11, 2011 (Southampton, New York) – At the conclusion of a final a public hearing before the Southampton Town Board on Tuesday, Group for the East End and local civics were victorious in a long-fought battle to improve one of the town’s most controversial zoning laws. After months of debate and amendment, Southampton Town unanimously passed a law that will improve the procedures for application, submission, and review of Planned Development Districts (PDDs). The new law adds to transparency within the process and allows for public participation at the earliest stages of review for PDD applications, which have the potential to negatively impact the local environment and community character.

The debate over PDDs has been raging since at least 2007, with various community stakeholders expressing their concerns and suggestions about how the law could be improved. “While every issue raised by each constituency is unlikely to ever be met, we believe that the overarching benefits of these amendments go a long way toward the responsible implementation of a PDD law that will benefit the interest of community members and provide a long-desired level of certainty for applicants as well,” said Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Group President Bob DeLuca presented the Town Board with a final letter of support from nearly 1,800 constituents and stakeholders from a dozen civic and environmental organizations throughout Southampton Town. The letter noted the following specific improvements in the PDD legislation that support the interests of community planning and conservation:

  1. A pre-application public hearing
  2. Expanded public notice at pre-application and web site posting of pre-application materials
  3. A detailed assessment of specific community planning impacts associated with each proposal
  4. A pre-application and post-hearing report from the Town Planning Department
  5. A formal Town Board decision and timeline to determine whether a project may proceed
  6. A defined statement of community benefits including the basis for those benefits accepted
  7. A formal oversight process for PDD implementation with citizen representation
  8. An annual assessment of all PDD activity including an impact assessment on community planning
  9. Increased disclosure, transparency and oversight requirements for any future “cash-in-lieu” payments

Organizations lending support to the final PDD proposal included: Bayview Pines Civic Association, CAC West (Eastport to Westhampton), East Quogue Civic Association, North Sea CAC, Noyac Civic Council, Sag Harbor CAC, Southampton Town Civic Coalition, Southampton, Tuckahoe, Shinnecock Hills CAC, Speonk/Remsenburg Civic Association, and Water Mill CAC. The final proposal also won support from the Long Island Builders Institute and Long Island Pine Barrens Society.

A Planned Development District (PDD) is a zoning tool that allows the town to grant additional density to an applicant, if the project will provide some type of community benefit.

Group for the East End protects and restores the environment of eastern Long Island through education, citizen action and professional advocacy. We inspire people to embrace a conservation ethic. For more information, please visit www.eastendenvironment.org

Contact:
Kate Fullam
631-765-6450, ext. 208
kfullam@eastendenvironment.org

Share |