LONG ISLAND SOUND DREDGING CHALLENGE LACKS MERIT
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong has filed a memorandum of law in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York describing the exhaustive administrative record, economic need, and environmental safeguards that clearly support the lawful selection of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site for dredged materials.
The memorandum, filed on behalf of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, responds to a challenge by the State of New York seeking to block the site designation.
Long Island Sound dredging is crucial to Connecticut's maritime economy, with major employers and stakeholders including Electric Boat, the Connecticut Port Authority, the Connecticut Harbor Management Association, the Cross Sound Ferry and others all weighing in in support. The United States Army Corps of Engineers found that without dredging, the ability to launch and build submarines in Groton "would be eliminated."
"The record is abundantly clear—the selection of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site was done properly and lawfully and must proceed. Thousands of maritime jobs and billions of dollars in revenue depend on the ability to dredge and safely deposit materials. This challenge is without merit, and must not be allowed to impede our state's maritime economy," said Attorney General William Tong.
In drafting the memorandum, the Office of the Attorney General worked in coordination with Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), whose office helped document the depth of economic impact and stakeholder support from the maritime business community.
“The Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site is the final step in over a decade of regional collaboration on dredging management that dates back to the 2005 Dredged Material Management Plan for Long Island Sound, which was agreed to at the time by the Governors Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island,” Courtney said. “My office has been working to get this project across the finish line since 2007 with stakeholders including the U.S. Navy and Electric Boat, as well as local marinas and ferry boat services, all of whom understand the importance of this work. New York’s continued effort to block the designation of this site—which was approved by the EPA after years of intense environmental reviews and robust public engagement—wouldn’t just upend what has been an exhaustive and fully-informed approval process, it would also disproportionately harm Connecticut’s eastern shoreline and economic activity, including recreational boating, commercial maritime transportation and shipbuilding, and important projects at the Coast Guard Academy and SUBASE New London.”
“Connecticut is committed to environmentally responsible management of dredged material. The availability of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal site for use by eastern Connecticut maritime interests is essential to support the vitality of our marine economy in an environmentally responsible way," said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes.
In addition to the economic impact, failure to dredge would have a negative impact on the state's air and water quality. Diverting transport of fuel oil, gasoline and other bulk products away from our ports and onto our congested highways would increase air pollution. Failure to dredge also increases the risk of marine collisions and sinkings, with increased risk of oil spills. Any disposal of dredge materials will require a full review of environmental impacts and must comply with Connecticut's Water Quality Standards.
Assistant Attorney General Robert Snook and Assistant Attorney General Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.