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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Connecticut delegation calls on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to adopt Dredged Material Management Plan

September 2, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, the Connecticut delegation sent a letter to Lieutenant General Tom Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in support of the recently-released Draft Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Long Island Sound.

"As representatives from Connecticut, a state with 332 miles of coastline, coves, and harbors on Long Island Sound, we applaud the Army Corps for identifying new environmentally sound alternatives for the handling of dredging materials, such as beach nourishment and wetlands restoration…

“In addition to the critical goal of protecting the Long Island Sound, access to a range of dredged material placement options is absolutely vital to our state’s economy – and that of the entire Long Island Sound region…If this dredging plan does not move forward, it is estimated that the region will see a fifteen percent dip in navigation-dependent economic activity revenue in the next two decades, and significant – and perhaps prohibitive – increases in costs for the private, commercial and federal stakeholders,” the delegation wrote.

The Army Corps of Engineers opened a public comment period on the DMMP in August, extending through October 5th. Comments may be directed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District (ATTN: LIS DMMP/PEIS Program Manager Meghan Quinn), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751.

The full text of the letter follows:

Dear Lt. General Bostick:

We write today in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Draft Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Long Island Sound. 

As representatives from Connecticut, a state with 332 miles of coastline, coves, and harbors on Long Island Sound, we applaud the Army Corps for identifying new environmentally sound alternatives for the handling of dredging materials, such as beach nourishment and wetlands restoration. Knowing that only a small portion of dredged materials can be used on land beneficially, we also understand the continued need for open-water disposal options currently in use in Connecticut waters and support continuing this disposal method for fine-grained materials suitable for open-water placement. As members of the Congressional Long Island Sound Caucus, we have long been advocates for protecting and rehabilitating this critical natural, recreation and economic resource. To that end, we commend the Army Corps for identifying a variety of alternative management options and would like to see the Army Corps pursue beneficial use alternatives whenever feasible.

In addition to the critical goal of protecting the Long Island Sound, access to a range of dredged material placement options is absolutely vital to our state’s economy – and that of the entire Long Island Sound region. According to the DMMP, economic activities that utilize Long Island Sound waterways contribute more than $9 billion annually in economic output. Additionally, these economic activities support more than 55,000 jobs in the Long Island Sound region. As important, our region is home to a range of federal and military facilities dependent on the viability of accessible and cost-effective placement options. If this dredging plan does not move forward, it is estimated that the region will see a fifteen percent dip in navigation-dependent economic activity revenue in the next two decades, and significant – and perhaps prohibitive – increases in costs for the private, commercial and federal stakeholders. 

With Connecticut’s newly-minted Port Authority officially coming into existence on July 1, 2015, our state is poised for resurgence in the maritime industry. As noted by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, imports at deep-water ports in Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London have decreased by 80 percent since 2006. Establishment of the new Port Authority, and increased focus on strategic investments needed to expand our major ports creates a significant opportunity to turn this trend around, create jobs, and grow Connecticut’s maritime economy. This, however, will be contingent on a continued effort to maintain our channels and harbors properly.

The DMMP and PEIS are the result of years of research and planning by the Army Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency, through constructive consultation with the States of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. They provide a comprehensive management framework of environmentally responsible and cost-effective disposal solutions for the varying types of dredged materials—specifically outlining plans for a myriad of federal dredging projects in the Long Island Sound region. Connecticut has been responsibly dredging using open-water placement for 35years and we are pleased that the DMMP, paired with sustainable on-land solutions for suitable dredged materials, will provide the Long Island Sound region with a balanced approach for future waterway maintenance projects.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important topic. We look forward to the timely approval of the DMMP and continued constructive engagement with stakeholders across the Long Island Sound region on managing dredging needs in the future.

Sincerely,

Joe Courtney, Member of Congress

Rosa DeLauro, Co-Chair, Long Island Sound Caucus, Member of Congress

Christopher S. Murphy, United States Senator

Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator

James A. Himes, Member of Congress

John B. Larson, Member of Congress

Elizabeth H. Esty, Member of Congress

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