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A community resident sent a list of questions about the dumping at the farm to Legislator Browning.  Her office responded to those questions as follows:


QUESTION:  Why did Suffolk County do this without any knowledge and coordination from other government municipalities?

ANSWER:  The county, at the direction of FEMA, contracted this work out to private entities, and the material is being distributed to private properties. Therefore coordination with the state and town was minimal. However, the State DEC  and Town of Brookhaven have reviewed the operation and no laws are being broken.


QUESTION:  Has anyone tested this debris for contaminants?  

ANSWER:  The material is from the Vegetative Debris Disposal program.  If it was an issue, DEC would have made the county test this.  The DEC is satisfied with the current program, and since it is only wood chips it does not fall under DEC regulations. 


QUESTION:  When did Legislator Browning know about this?

ANSWER:  She was notified of the operation when the community began to call. She did not have prior knowledge of it. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy our emergency services and departments dealing with the recovery have had to overcome very difficult challenges, and not everything they do goes through the legislature. Legislator Browning does not believe enough communication took place, but considering the magnitude of the disaster it is impossible to micromanage everything.


QUESTION:  At the very least, why wasn't there prior planning and notification?

ANSWER:  This was one of the largest natural disasters our area has ever seen. No planning could have prepared all levels of government for the amount of debris that needs to be handled during the recovery. Legislator Browning agrees elected officials should have been notified, so that residents could have been informed by their representatives. However, everything was done within the law and we would not have been able to prevent it.


QUESTION:  Is chipped brush material combustible?? 

ANSWER:  If not maintained properly, it could potentially be an issue in hotter temperatures, but that goes for any mulch/wood chip operation. The DEC will monitor the site and we do not envision the material staying there in piles. It will be used by the farm and will be monitored until they do so.


QUESTION:  I thought Part 360 applied to materials generated by his own farm?

ANSWER:  Part 360 does not include mulch or chipped wood. Legislator Browning has advocated for changes to the law to include these, and the DEC is currently working on a draft to do that. In the end the state must make the changes and our Senator and Assemblyman are working on it. The county has no control over DEC regulations.


QUESTION:  In the past, towns have deferred to the state regulations in regard to farming.  Why now the change?

ANSWER:  I canít answer that. You would need to get that answer from the town.


QUESTION:  Given this, what are the county regulations regarding this?

ANSWER:  The county does not regulate these operations. The town controls zoning and the DEC regulates the rest.


QUESTION:  Please define the continuing process:  How long will it remain as "mountains".  When will it be tilled into the soil?  If and when more offsite material arrives         (there is MORE than enough now), how will that be handled?

ANSWER:  We do not have an exact time frame, but the legislator is being told this material will be used by the farm and will not just sit there. I know the town is speaking with the farm to get more information. If more material comes it will be handled the same way, however, Legislator browning has requested that it be placed at a location on the farm farthest from residential properties.


If you have any questions for Legislator Browning she can be reached at 631-852-1300
or by email at:

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