To the Editor:
I was one of the survivors of the boat sinking in Gardiners Bay Saturday and want to thank the people in the boat Sea Breeze who saved us.
I also want to thank the Billy’s by the Bay restaurant in Greenport for shelter, warmth, food and drink.
Thank you all.
Growing risks, misguided policy
To the Editor:
The New York Times recently featured an article entitled “A Rising Tide of Contaminants” (September 25, 2014), which detailed the lack of research, testing and understanding of the effects on both public health and the environment from the tens of thousands of contaminants found in our ground and surface water supplies. The article indicated:
• That there was a lack of knowledge concerning the effect background levels (of these contaminants) mean in terms of environmental or public health;
• The number of chemicals contaminating our environment is growing at an exponential rate — with approximately 15,000 new chemicals and biological sequences registered every day;
• There is rising concern among researchers about the way older compounds are altered in the environment, sometimes taking on new and more dangerous forms;
• The development of new compounds and the increasing discovery of unexpected contaminants in the environment means that the U.S. needs a better system for assessing chemical exposures since the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has not been updated since 1976;
• While the TSCA requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain an inventory of registered industrial compounds that may be toxic, it does not require advance safety testing of those materials. Of the 84,000 compounds registered, only a fraction have ever been fully tested for health effects on humans;
• Despite the alarming trends, Congress has not passed an environmental law in 18 years.
We should be particularly concerned. All of our drinking water comes from below us and what we dump into the ground inevitably finds its way into our drinking and surface waters. Suffolk County Health officials have documented a 200 percent increase in nitrogen along with a doubling of the concentration and a quadrupling of the frequency of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in our drinking water supply wells.
Because contaminants move from ground water to our surface waters, we can now see host impacts along our shorelines. Local clam, scallop, lobster and oyster populations have all been reduced by over 97 percent.
Our elected officials need to do better. It is their responsibility to protect our health, safety and welfare.
Clean air, clean water and a healthy environment are our collective right. Perhaps our elected officials should begin to pursue these goals with the same zeal that they court local developers and campaign contributors.
DANIEL J. GULIZIO
Executive Director, Peconic Baykeeper