Energy & Environment
More on Energy & Environment
January 17, 2017 Op-Ed
Eastern Connecticut’s economy has always been closely linked with open access to the sea. A vast array of economic activities in our region, ranging from recreational boating to commercial maritime transportation, shipbuilding, the Coast Guard Academy, and the Naval Submarine Base in Groton all rely on transit to and from Long Island Sound. This vital access to the sea requires regular dredging of shipping channels and navigable waterways to sustain passable access to our ports.
December 6, 2016 Press Release
“It’s hard to overstate how important dredging and dredging disposal is to the maritime economy across the Long Island Sound region,” said Courtney. “Without the regular dredging of ports and waterways, a vast array of economic activities in our region ranging from recreational boating to commercial maritime transportation, shipbuilding, the Coast Guard Academy, and the submarine base could not function. Today’s publication of the final rule for the eastern Long Island Sound represents the final step in a long process to create environmentally responsible and manageable disposal sites across the entire length of the Sound. This eagerly awaited action follows years of intense environmental reviews, robust public engagement and diligent consideration of all views with regard to the future of dredging in our region. I want to thank the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their hard work throughout this process."
“Long Island Sound is a biological treasure, and protecting its fragile ecosystem begins away from the shoreline along our rivers and tributaries,” said Courtney. “The Sound is home to a rich assortment of plant and animal species that we need to protect for generations to come. I want to thank the Nature Conversancy for their unwavering commitment to protecting our local environment, and Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman for his continued support of local conservation efforts.”
November 1, 2016 Press Release
“This funding will give Putnam the tools to upgrade its water structure in order to enhance its water quality and generate new opportunities for economic development,” said Courtney. “The late town administrator Doug Cutler, who internally led the Water Pollution Control Authority before passing unexpectedly this year, was instrumental in crafting the town’s application for this loan just as he was with so many previous ones in the past. This award is another example of the huge footprint Doug has left in the Quiet Corner in terms of development projects that were carried out with funding that he helped to secure to grow this community he loved so much.”
"Without access to an ELDS, it is expected that transporting dredged materials to other sites, like the Rhode Island Disposal Site, will increase carbon emissions from ships and risk of dredged material spills as transport distance is extended,” wrote the members. “Moreover, the use of the Rhode Island Sound Disposal Site's limited capacity for Long Island Sound dredging will have cascading effects on projects throughout Southern New England. Our states have been responsibly dredging in eastern Long Island Sound for over 30 years, which was recently confirmed with an A- rating on the 2016 Long Island Sound Report Card.
“As representatives from the region, we understand firsthand the importance of preserving and protecting the environment in and around the Sound for future generations to enjoy,” wrote the members. “The environmental soundness of Long Island Sound dredging is a clear focus of the ELDS. The proposed rule is consistent with the federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Plans for New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Furthermore, it should be noted that without access to the ELDS, it is expected that transporting dredged materials to other sites, like the Rhode Island Disposal Site, will increase carbon emissions from ships and risk of dredged material spills as transport distance is extended. Our states have been responsibly dredging using open-water placement for 35 years and we believe that swift adoption of the ELDS, along with an increased effort to find sustainable on-land solutions for suitable dredged materials, will provide the Long Island Sound region with a balanced approach for future waterway maintenance projects."
July 11, 2016 Press Release
“We cannot allow small communities and municipalities across this country to fall into financial distress because of congressional gridlock which is holding up the establishment of a federal nuclear waste storage facility,” said Courtney. “Our bill will compensate local communities that have become de facto interim storage locations for toxic nuclear waste until a centralized storage location can be opened. This bill is an acknowledgement that communities like Haddam deserve restitution for storing spent nuclear fuel long after the federal government committed to taking on the burden.“
“The final rule issued yesterday establishing new restrictions on the use of the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites goes a long way toward protecting the environment while advancing Connecticut’s maritime economic interests. Long Island Sound waterways contribute more than $9 billion annually to our economic output in the region and maintaining navigable shipping channels is critical to the long-term health of our state’s economy. From the submarine base in Groton to family-owned marinas up and down our coast, thousands of residents across our state depend on reliable access to local waterways for their livelihoods. We are pleased that the amended restrictions announced yesterday prioritize disposing of dredged materials on land to mitigate any harm to the environment and the region’s fish and shellfish stocks. EPA was able to strike the right balance between ensuring our maritime economy continues to thrive while protecting both the scenic beauty and biological diversity of the Sound.”
“Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound. It is home to a rich assortment of rare plant and animal species that need to be walled off from human interference. Nearly everyone involved in this issue agrees that it should be preserved as a natural sanctuary – not sold off to the highest bidder for development. The amendment will prevent the federal agency in charge of the island from moving forward with a sale by prohibiting it from using any of its operational funding provided by Congress for that purpose. This will not be the end of the fight to preserve Plum Island, but this will provide us with more time to find a permanent solution for protecting the Island for generations to come.”
“Plum Island is an incredibly special place, a scenic and biological treasure located right off our coast in Long Island Sound,” said Courtney. “The measure passed today started in 2013 in response to a GSA report that signaled the sale of Plum Island was on the fast track. It has really taken persistence up until the vote today to make sure that we stop that process and send the message loud and clear that Plum Island is not for sale. Because of its unique history that left the island unsuitable for residential or commercial, it has developed an incredibly unique and rich assortment of biodiversity. I have had the opportunity to visit the island - it’s like you are in a different world - and that is something that we can never take for granted, particularly in a part of the country where there is a tremendous amount of sea traffic and economic activity. For us to preserve this 840 acre parcel with its incredible richness is something that really will live on for generations into the future. We really are closer than we have ever been to permanently protecting Plum Island.“