Environmentalists oppose Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski's land purchasing bill
Environmentalists say a land purchasing bill being considered in Suffolk County would favor farms and put drinking water at risk.
Suffolk County collects approximately $5 million annually in sales tax dedicated to protecting clean water and open space. Legislator Al Krupski wishes to impose a bill that would dedicate half of that amount to purchasing land development rights from farmers.
Multiple environmentalist groups say the bill will give farmers an unfair advantage in competing for dwindling open space funds. They claim the current system gives priority to land purchases that would be the most beneficial for the environment regardless of who the owners are.
Krupski insists that his plan will improve environmental protection and that if the money is not dedicated, it will dissipate and will not be there for the parcels that should be purchased.
There are questions surrounding the legality of Krupski's bill, as it would change a law originally passed by referendum. The legislature is expected to vote on the bill this summer. If passed, environmentalists say they will file a lawsuit to stop it.