Westhampton man charged with illegal dumping in Pine Barrens

Posted: Updated:
WESTHAMPTON BEACH -

A Westhampton Beach man was charged after being caught on surveillance video dumping a smashed-up dresser and a bag of Christmas lights in a portion of the Pine Barrens just off Speonk-Riverhead Road.

Jorge I. Villalta-Nieto was charged with a misdemeanor count of littering on public property, a violation of Southampton Town Code. He was also charged with operating a vehicle off-road on public property. He is due in Southampton Town of Justice Court in January. 

This is the second time in the past three months that someone has been charged with dumping in the Pine Barrens. Back in September, a Middle Island man dumped a few hundred bottles of an expired sports drink in this same area. The defendant in that case pleaded guilty and paid a $2,500 fine.

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says the recent dumping cases in the Pine Barrens point to a wider and growing problem of people and companies dumping garbage and debris throughout Long Island.

"We shouldn't be using our parks and our Pine Barrens as a landfill," she told News 12 Long Island. 

She says authorities should increase patrols and fines for people caught illegally dumping in the Pine Barrens. 

In addition to being fined, people found guilty of dumping there are often required to pay for cleanup costs. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is currently investigating at least 12 cases of illegal dumping on Long Island.

The Pine Barrens are comprised of 100,000 acres of pristine wilderness on top of Long Island's aquifer.
 

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