A.G. Increases Support For Long Island's Environment

Attorney General Spitzer today marked the sixth anniversary of the Pine Barrens Protection Act by announcing that he will provide legal assistance to Long Island communities that are sued when they take action to protect critical natural resources.

"Long Island is at the center of the battle to preserve open space," said Spitzer. "When local governments are challenged for taking responsible steps to protect significant environmental resources, I am committed to providing the legal expertise and support of my office to help ensure that Long Island's many natural treasures are preserved for future generations."

Spitzer made the announcement at a news conference at Connetquot State Park where he was joined by Long Island's major environmental groups.

Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society said: "The Attorney General has been a stalwart supporter of environmental protection in general and Pine Barrens preservation in particular. We applaud Attorney General Spitzer on his new initiative to provide assistance to local communities who are taken to court for their environmental protection efforts."

The Attorney General's initiative will bolster the ability of local officials to ward off legal challenges as they attempt to ensure the long-term viability of their communities by protecting open space and other natural resources from development. Communities that turn to the Attorney General's office for assistance will receive expert legal and technical support.

"We will extend this cooperation to everyone," said Spitzer. "This is a totally non-partisan commitment, a pledge of available resources and expertise aimed at advancing the public good to help ensure that Long Island remains a healthy, vibrant community for generations to come."

The Pine Barrens protect the greatest quantities of the purest drinking water remaining on Long Island, water that must meet the needs of Long Island's 2.7 million residents.

Besides the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, other environmental groups attending the news conference included: Friends of the Bay, Sierra Club, South Fork Groundwater Task Force, and Sustainable Long Island.