Riverhead sues DEC over endangered species regulations

RIVERHEAD - The Town of Riverhead has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Environmental Conservation over new regulations aimed at protecting endangered species, claiming they could place a financial burden on property owners.

Farmer Lyle Wells says before the new regulations, property owners would only have to buffer an area around endangered species, but now owners must hire a consultant to identify endangered species and monitor their growth forever. That could cost thousands of dollars a year.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter says the new regulations will kill jobs and complicate the town's efforts to sell 1,400 acres of property in Calverton. Walters also complains the rules were enacted without any public input.

Dick Amper, of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, says if Riverhead can't sell its land, it has only itself to blame.

"We've been protecting endangered species for 100 years, and no one has gone out of business as a result," he says.

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