Announcement by Six Government Agencies Today Reflects Clinton/Bishop Legislation and Cooperation of New York and Connecticut
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Tim Bishop (NY-01) today applauded the announcement by six government agencies that they have reached an accord to manage Long Island Sound Dredged Materials and have agreed on a process to support the goal of reducing or eliminating open water disposal of dredged materials into the Sound while maintaining the economic viability of New York and Connecticut's working ports.
The agreement announced today is between the United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York State Department of State. The agreement formally ratifies the parties' intention to administer a Regional Dredging Team to assist with options for the management of dredged materials while the larger Dredged Material Management Plan is being developed.
In March of 2004, the EPA had proposed to designate two sites in the Long Island Sound as disposal sites for dredge material. Responding to environmental concerns about the proposal, Clinton and Bishop introduced legislation to require the development of a Dredge Material Management Plan that would govern disposal in the Sound. As part of that process, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA were to evaluate upland disposal options and dump only the cleanest dredge material as a matter of last resort. The deal announced by these agencies today is an important step in their goal of protecting the Long Island Sound.
"I am pleased that these federal agencies and the states of New York and Connecticut have come to this agreement to build on the fundamental principles we put forward in our bill, and protect the Long Island Sound. This agreement sets in place the framework necessary to protect this magnificent resource from the dumping of contaminated materials," said Senator Clinton. "This is certainly a welcome improvement on the original proposal which was totally unacceptable to everyone who recognizes the value of the Sound. This agreement promises a much better approach to the management of the Sound and we will continue to monitor their progress as they move forward."
"This agreement recognizes that the Long Island Sound is a valuable natural resource, not an aquatic landfill," Representative Bishop said. "We have come a long way from the original plan which would have been environmentally devastating to the health of the Sound. I'm pleased that the legislation Senator Clinton and I offered served as the catalyst for this solution. This effort reminds us that when we work together and seek creative answers, we can do things that protect the health and safety of the Long Island Sound."
According to the announcement today, the agreement ratifies the intent of three federal and three state agencies to formally administer a Regional Dredging Team to comply with the June 3, 2005, rulemaking by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) that designated open-water dredged material disposal sites in Central Long Island Sound (CLIS) and Western Long Island Sound (WLIS). The establishment of the Regional Dredging Team will assist dredging proponents in considering and evaluating various management options for their dredged material while a larger effort to develop a Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) for Long Island Sound is being conducted. The agreement covers dredging projects in both New York State and Connecticut waters.
The deal by the six agencies establishes a Long Island Sound Regional Dredging Team that will:
- Review all federal dredging projects, and those non-federal dredging projects proposing more than 25,000 cubic yards of open water disposal at WLIS or CLIS;
- Evaluate all available information to ensure that a thorough effort has been conducted to identify practicable alternatives;
- Ensure that beneficial use alternatives are used whenever practical for some or all of the material;
- Enhance communication and discussion among the participating agencies;
- Facilitate timely review and presentation of recommendations for the management and beneficial use of dredged material from the Sound; and
- Provide advice on dredged material management for other dredging projects located on or in tributaries to the Sound.
Senator Clinton and Congressman Bishop have worked tirelessly with the Long Island community to address concerns about the dumping of dredge waste material in the Sound. In addition to the legislation they introduced in 2004, they have lobbied other elected representatives, EPA officials and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers on this important issue.