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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Connecticut Delegation Praises EPA Final Rule For Use Of The Central And Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites

July 8, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), John Larson (CT-01), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for publishing a final rule yesterday amending restrictions on the use of the Central and Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Sites.

“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,” the delegation said. “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.”

“With the Western sites finalized, we look forward to continuing to work with the EPA toward completing the designation of a similar site in the Eastern Long Island Sound as well.”

More information on yesterday’s announcement from the EPA can be found by clicking here.

The periodic dredging of harbors and channels is essential to ensure safe navigation. All dredged material placed in the Sound must pass stringent EPA testing requirements to determine whether the material is toxic. Any material that does not pass these tests is not placed in the open waters of Long Island Sound. The new restrictions notably include a mandate that alternative means for disposal of dredged material such as beach nourishment be used whenever practicable before turning to open-water disposal.

In March, the delegation wrote to the EPA to share its views on the proposed rule to amend the restrictions on use of dredged material disposal sites in Central Long Island Sound (CLDS) and Western Long Island Sound (WLDS).

The final rule continues the effort of the Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) which was finalized in January 2016 to identify and evaluate environmentally sound, on-land disposal options for certain dredging projects. The Connecticut Congressional delegation wrote to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in September 2015 urging it to adopt a DMMP.

 

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