We have a responsibility to be stewards of our environment and to preserve and restore natural areas, as well as ensure that we have a clean, healthy environment for the next generation of Americans. As part of that responsibility, we need to continue our efforts to restore and protect the Long Island Sound, as it is an environmental and economical national treasure right in our backyard. We also need to curb climate change, the biggest ecological challenge of our time, while protecting our land, air, and water, and otherwise reduce harm to the environment, when we grow and redevelop our cities and towns.
Protecting the Long Island Sound
The Long Island Sound is a regional and a national treasure critical to our local environment and economy. We have a responsibility to ensure it is protected and preserved so future generations of Americans can continue to enjoy it. The Sound is also one of the most complex estuaries in the country, with a watershed covering all or part of six states. Almost 40 percent of Connecticut’s population lives in communities along the Sound and more than 21 million people live within 50 miles of the Sound. It also contributes an estimated $8.9 billion annually to the regional economy from activities like commercial and recreational fishing, recreational boating, swimming, and beach-going.
Since coming to Congress, Rosa has made protecting the overall health and vitality of the Long Island Sound a priority, from assisting the lobstermen facing a significant lobster die-off to the grassroots efforts to block projects like the proposed Islander East Natural Gas Pipeline and the Broadwater Liquified Natural Gas Facility. Rosa is a co-chair of the Congressional Long Island Sound Caucus, which is a bipartisan caucus that works to coordinate Connecticut and New York efforts to improve the health of the Sound and secure funding for habitat restoration, pollution control, and the protection of plants and animals. Rosa is also a lead cosponsor of the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act, which reauthorizes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs that help protect and restore the environmentally and economically vital resources of the Sound, as well as preserve areas along the Sound’s shorelines with significant ecological, recreational, or educational value.
Curbing Climate Change
Climate change is the biggest environment and ecological challenge we will face over the next century. Rising global temperatures are already causing the melting of glaciers and sea ice, resulting in rising sea levels and more severe and extreme weather events, including flooding and droughts, reduced crop yields, shortages of drinking water, and other negative ecological consequences. Coastal communities like Connecticut are at a greater risk for some of these dangers such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events, including hurricanes. To curb the harmful effects of climate change, Rosa strongly supports domestic and international efforts to reduce green house gas emissions and curb the negative effects of climate change.
Rosa supports reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, by funding the research and development of the next generation of alternative fuels and promoting energy efficiency to eliminate unnecessary emissions from energy waste. To help meet these aims, Rosa introduced the Job Creation and Energy Efficiency Act to create a low-interest federal loan program to help businesses and local governments finance retrofits-such as efficient lighting, windows, building insulation, and efficient heating and cooling systems-of existing buildings. The legislation would create jobs, including up to one million jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries, protect the environment, and reduce energy costs. And, it is all paid for with the energy savings achieved by the retrofit projects.
Protecting Our Environment for the Next Generation
We also need to preserve open space, farmland and historic sites as a means of protecting our state and local environments as well as protecting our state and local economies. We need to encourage smart growth, urban redevelopment, and mass transit and create incentives for communities to protect farmlands, clean up abandoned and contaminated industrial sites and safeguard waterways. Rosa supports fully funding federal programs and works to support grants that provide our towns with resources to make our communities more livable and environmentally friends. She also supports Federal funding to protect drinking water supplies and upgrade wastewater treatment facilities, namely through the Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds.