FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Asharoken Village
Hall – (631) 261 -7098
Asharoken Mayor Patricia Irving
announced today that the Village of Asharoken should soon start to see
Asharoken’s beach erosion problem finally addressed.
Since her election in June,
Mayor Irving has been working with Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington)
to bring the necessary parties to the table to resolve this long standing
problem. A joint meeting was held with Congressman Israel, the
Village, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition to Congressman
Israel and Mayor Irving, the meeting included Colonel Aneillo Tortora,
Commanding Officer, New York District, USACOE, and Peter Scully, Regional
Director of the NYS DEC and senior support staff of all the participants.
Mayor Irving ran on the promise to seek intergovernmental cooperation
in resolving Asharoken’s “Sand on the Beach” dilemma.
Asharoken, for years has claimed
that the Northport Power plant, originally built by LILCO and now owned
by National Grid, has interrupted the natural flow of sand to Asharoken
located west of the plant. The original operating permit issued
by the Army Corps of Engineers to LILCO required the utility to regularly
dredge the channel and discharge inlet of accumulated sand and deposit
on Asharoken Beach. The dredging in the past was intermittent
at best, and failed to provide sufficient sand to replenish the beach,
which had accreted, not eroded, before the construction of the plant.
Asharoken had instituted a
law suit against LILCO which was dismissed and is currently awaiting
a decision on appeal. Most of the Village’s resources were directed
to the litigation. Any discussions with the Army Corps for enforcement
of the original permit conditions were met with resistance because of
the Village’s past “all or nothing attitude”.
Mayor Irving promised a new
era of cooperation and immediately sought Congressman Israel’s intervention
and assistance from all parties. Mayor Irving also sat down with representatives
of National Grid to open a dialogue of cooperation.
Asharoken has sought the Army
Corps enforcement of the original operating permit that requires the
utility to regularly dredge the intake channel and deposit the dredged
Asharoken Mayor Patricia Irving with Colonel Aneillo Tortora, Commanding Officer, NY District, US Army Corps of Engineers and Peter Scully, Regional Director, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation at the offices of Congressman Steve Israel material on Asharoken beach. A 2004 Army Corps analysis estimated that the lost sand amounts to an average of 15,000 cubic yards of sand per year and the utility has been replacing on average 10,000 cubic yards per year. The Army Corps has agreed to enforce the permit, require at least 15,000 cubic yards per year and require the utility to make up for any short fall. Richard Tomer, Chief of the Army Corps’ Regulatory Branch indicated that National Grid has agreed to comply. National Grid is currently dredging sand and stock piling it on the power plant site. It will be moved to Asharoken Beach shortly. The Army Corps is also exploring the requirement of the utility to install a permanent sand by-pass system that was addressed under the original operating permit.
There was a concern that NYS
Department of Environmental Conservation would stop any efforts to replenish
the sand on Asharoken beach. NYS DEC made it clear that they recognized
that something has to be done with Asharoken’s beach, and dredged
sand must come from somewhere. The DEC objects to the dredging of a
“borrow hole” in Long Island Sound, for environmental reasons, but
has already identified other dredge sites where the shortfall of the
sand may come from. The Army Corps and DEC have already scheduled a
joint meeting in Albany to address this issue and Congressman Israel
will have a member of his staff in attendance.
Mayor Irving made it clear
that these efforts alone will not solve Asharoken’s erosion problems,
but it is a start. Furthermore, Mayor Irving also insisted that she
needs the Army Corps assistance, and the DEC cooperation, in devising
a program and methodology that will restore all the sand that the beach
has lost in the past 40 years and keep it there. Both agencies acknowledged
that they were there to “put sand on Asharoken’s beach”.
Although this may take years to complete, Congressman Israel made it
clear that this project was not going to be one of those that is only
studied and never acted upon.