FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2021 *** Winters Bros, LLC/ Brookhaven Rail has recently completed its acquisition of a 228-acre parcel in Yaphank, NY for the purpose of building a new rail waste transfer station and industrial park (“Winters Rail Terminal”) to export thousands of tons daily of municipal solid waste (MSW), construction & demolition debris (C&D), and recyclables. We, the Brookhaven Landfill Action & Remediation Group (BLARG), stand firmly with the New York State NAACP in raising the alarm about this newest attempt to concentrate more polluting waste infrastructure in a district that has disproportionately borne the brunt of Long Island’s waste for decades. The proposed waste transfer station, Winters Rail Terminal, is separated from the Brookhaven landfill by Horseblock Road. It lies between Yaphank Avenue on the east and Horseblock Road on the south. In January 2021, Brookhaven Town’s own Anti-Bias Task Force voted unanimously to oppose the Town’s ashfill expansion plan, claiming that “health and safety concerns for local residents must be of the highest priority in all future plans for the closing and remediation of the Brookhaven Landfill. To do anything less will degrade the reputation of our town, ignore a potentially dangerous situation, and constitute a continuing unjust burden upon a minority of residents in the vicinity.” The proposed 228-acre Winters Rail Terminal would be another receptacle for waste across from this rejected ashfill site. We have adamantly opposed the Winters Rail Terminal project previously and will continue to do so. This project is being undertaken without community input or approval, and as such it contributes to the disenfranchisement and marginalization of communities of color within our district, and in Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County at large. We insist that our district’s diverse communities must have a voice in any decisions about waste infrastructure in our area. Moreover, vulnerable and marginalized groups within our district proximate to the proposed waste transfer station must particularly be taken into account and consulted. These include the residents of Suffolk County Yaphank Jail and the residents of HELP Suffolk, the largest homeless shelter on Long Island. As a community that has lived in the shadow of the Brookhaven Landfill for the past five decades, we suffer the health, social, economic, and political impacts of the existing waste infrastructure. Our district, represented by the boundaries of the South Country Central School District, includes East Patchogue, Yaphank, Bellport, and Brookhaven Hamlet. In North Bellport, the Landfill’s fence-line community, residents have the lowest life expectancy on all of Long Island and the neighborhood ranks 80-95th percentile nationally in almost all EPA Environmental Injustice indicators. All neighboring communities suffer from federal and state air quality violations, as convoys of diesel trucks haul trash to the existing municipal waste transfer station on Horseblock Road. There is also an unremediated leachate plume from the Brookhaven Landfill. Neither our Brookhaven Town government nor the New York State FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 1, 2021 *** Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have taken reasonable measures over the past decades to acknowledge, address, or ameliorate the environmental injustices affecting one of Brookhaven Town’s majority-Black and Latinx working class neighborhoods. Instead, the injustices of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s continue to pave the way for the injustices of 2021. Despite months of entreaties, we at BLARG have not received a viable plan for the closure and remediation of the existing Landfill site. Although North Bellport has been identified as a potential environmental justice zone by the DEC, this designation has not translated into the community’s protection or meaningful involvement in decision-making about waste. Given the toxic infrastructure already concentrated in this area, and the decades of mistrust and harm surrounding the Landfill-proximate community, we call for a moratorium on any new waste infrastructure in our district until Brookhaven Town --guided by the community-- has been able to develop a rational, equitable, sustainable, public-facing solid waste management plan that addresses the environmental injustice of the past five decades. We are no longer accepting the industry-led crisis planning that has left us with a 276-foot mountain of garbage and no political will to close and clean up this behemoth in our district. We call upon our state and federal partners to understand that the Winter Bros proposal was developed without real community input and continues the environmental injustice of the past five decades. We support zero waste strategies that will reduce, reuse, and recycle Long Island’s waste in order to divert refuse from landfills and incineration. Zero waste planning is not an afterthought; it is a necessary first step for reconstructing our waste management plan with sustainability and human rights as top priorities. Despite decades of waste crisis, including the Mobro 4000 scandal, Brookhaven Town has not developed or signed on to a zero-waste plan with clear and measurable targets for sustainable waste reduction and management. Despite our sensitive coastline ecology, and our toxic history of segregation and environmental racism, our local officials and private sector waste haulers have been loath to leave behind the patterns of the past fifty years. They continue to concentrate polluting infrastructure in our district, and also plan to send thousands of tons of waste, without public and enforceable plans for reduction or accountability, to other working-class communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and beyond. Enough is enough. We are not ready to accept any new infrastructure in our area on a hope and a prayer, and we do not support false solutions that irresponsibly dump massive quantities of waste in another community. It is time to stop managing the waste of Long Island on our backs. Learn more about BLARG and join us in this effort! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.