Courtney, Murphy, Blumenthal Statement on EPA Proposal for an Eastern Long Island Sound Dredging Site
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) made the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed dredged material disposal site designation rule for eastern Long Island Sound. In the proposed rule, the EPA recommended an environmentally suitable location to dispose of a portion of dredged material not suitable for on-land use from vital Connecticut harbors and waterways.
“We are encouraged that the EPA was able to help locate a central site for the disposal of dredged materials in eastern Long Island Sound and look forward to public input to ensure the site will protect both the scenic beauty and biological diversity of the area,” the lawmakers said. “Long Island Sound waterways contribute more than $9 billion annually to our economic output in Connecticut, and maintaining navigable shipping channels is critical to the long-term health of our regional economy. From the New London Submarine Base to family-owned marinas, thousands of residents across our state depend on reliable access to local waterways for their livelihoods. We are particularly pleased that the EPA clearly articulates processes that will mitigate any harm to the environment and to the region’s fish and shellfish stocks.”
Following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers final Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) issued in January, the EPA determined that a new site was necessary for long-term open-water dredged material disposal in the Long Island Sound region. The EPA is proposing a new eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site (ELDS) because it provides the best option for minimal environmental impact.
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. EPA will require the same restrictions for the ELDS as those that are currently being finalized for the central and western Long Island Sound disposal sites. 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.