Government Briefs 08.02.12

East Hampton Town
Space for Cell Towers
    Using maps of the cellular communications equipment sites that the various cell companies have throughout East Hampton Town, Councilwoman Theresa Quigley has suggested the town board seek to pinpoint gaps in coverage areas and identify town lands where cell towers could be erected.
    The councilwoman presented the idea to the town board at a work session on Tuesday. After finding potential sites for new equipment installations, the town could approach the wireless companies to see if they would be interested in leasing a location, she said.

Booze Limits on Beaches?
    A regulation proposed by a constituent could be a good one to help curb what some have called excessive drinking at beaches, particularly Amagansett’s Indian Wells, Councilwoman Quigley said this week.
    Rather than banning drinking on the beach, the town board could, she said, limit how much alcohol one person could possess to, for instance, a six-pack of beer or one bottle of liquor or wine. While Councilman Dominick Stanzione questioned the enforceability of such a measure, Ms. Quigley called it a “middle ground.”    J.P.

New York State

Eradicating Invasives

    On July 24, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that aims to protect New York’s waterways and natural habitats from the negative environmental effects of invasive species. The law, which will take effect 180 days after its signing, grants the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets authority to regulate the sale, purchase, possession, introduction, importation, and transport of invasive species, such as hydrilla, the emerald ash borer, and the Asian long-horned beetle.

    Proponents believe that the new legislation — which contains provisions to educate the public, as well as hold violators accountable — will save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Seagrass Protection Signed Into Law

    Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced that Governor Cuomo has signed the Seagrass Protection Act, which Mr. Thiele co-sponsored.

    The legislation will give the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to designate seagrass management areas and develop management plans to address site-specific threats, regulate coastal and marine activities that can harm seagrass and seagrass restoration efforts, identify water quality impacts on seagrasses, and expand seagrass education efforts.

    Seagrasses function as habitat and nursery grounds for numerous commercially, recreationally and ecologically important fish and shellfish species, including the Peconic Bay scallop, according to a release from Mr. Thiele’s office. They also serve an important role in the nutrient and carbon cycles and provide a food source for fish and waterfowl. Increased nutrient loadings, decreased water quality and clarity, large phytoplankton blooms, habitat degradation, fishing gear and boating activities, and climate change have contributed to seagrass declines in New York and throughout the world.