Lawmakers reach deal to make illegal dumping of debris on Long Island a felony

Christine Insinga for News 12 Long Island

Originally published in News 12 Long Island

State lawmakers have reached a deal that would make illegal dumping of debris or participating in a dumping scheme a felony.

The illegal dumping scandal that forced the closure of the Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood for years is one of many sites that prompted lawmakers to take action.

"We want people to know that Long Island is no one's dumping ground," says Sen. Todd Kaminsky.

As News 12 has reported, 40,000 tons of contaminated material was found at Roberto Clemente Park and several other locations across the island.

Suffolk County DA Tim Sini convened a special grand jury to look into the issue. The grand jury's report found there were no laws on the books that specifically targeted anyone involved with illegally accepting, disposing or possessing construction or hazardous materials.

"This is giving our law enforcement the tools they need to do their jobs to go after this crime that for years was really just looked at as the cost of doing business," says Kaminsky.

Sini says the deal reached includes landmark legislation. The bill states that scheming to defraud illegally dump solid waste would be a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.