New York & Connecticut Members Urge EPA to Maintain Federal Funds for Long Island Sound in 2018 Budget
WASHINGTON, DC (March 15, 2017) — U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-01) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today led a bipartisan letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging Administrator Scott Pruitt to oppose cuts to the EPA’s Long Island Sound geographic program for Fiscal Year 2018. The Members cited ongoing efforts to restore and protect Long Island Sound’s water quality for residents who live, work, and participate in recreational activities on or near the Sound.
“Any cuts to this program would have a detrimental impact on ongoing efforts to restore and protect Long Island Sound’s water quality and harm the quality of life for the millions of our constituents who live, work and recreate on or near the Sound,” the Members wrote in the letter. “Federal funding to continue the Environmental Protection Agency’s program for Long Island Sound is critical to our regional economies and the quality of our environment. Continuing to fund the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Acts will allow the EPA to continue to work collaboratively with local stakeholders to address water quality and invest in new strategies to reduce pollution and improve the environmental quality of the region.”
In 1985, the EPA, in an agreement with New York and Connecticut, created the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), an office under the EPA charged with advancing efforts to restore the sound and address low oxygen levels and nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations and have also hurt shoreline wetlands. In 1990, the Long Island Sound Improvement Act was signed into law, providing federal dollars to advance Sound cleanup projects, including wastewater treatment improvements.
In 2006, identifying the need for increased stakeholder participation and the need to focus on coastal restoration and improved public access and education, Congress passed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, which provided federal dollars for projects to restore the coastal habitat to help revitalize the wildlife population, coastal wetlands, and plant life. Since then, for every $1 appropriated, the LISS has leveraged $87 from other Federal, state, local, and private funding sources, totaling more than $3.8 billion. This funding has enabled programs to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the Long Island Sound from sewage treatment plants by 35,000,000 lbs. per year as of 2013, compared to the 1990s. It has also restored at least 1,548 acres and protected 2,580 acres of habitat land.
Schumer, Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Murphy, Zeldin, and DeLauro were joined by Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), John Larson (CT-1), Joe Courtney (CT-2), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Thomas Suozzi (NY-3), Jim Himes (CT-4), Grace Meng (NY-6), Joe Crowley (NY-14), Pete King (NY-2), Nita Lowey (NY-17), Daniel Donovan (NY-11), Hakeem Jefferies (NY-8), Kathleen Rice (NY-4), and Jerrold Nadler (NY-10).
The full letter is available here.