Clinton, Bishop, Levy Applaud Deal on Long Island Sound Dredge Materials
EPA Announcement Today Reflects Clinton/Bishop Legislation and Cooperation of New York and Connecticut
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY), Congressman Tim Bishop (NY-01) and Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy today applauded the announcement by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of a compromise on dumping dredge spoils in Long Island Sound, including a plan to deal with the disposal of dredge waste material in the Sound.
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 the EPA today reflects these basic principles.
"I am pleased that Connecticut and New York were able to work cooperatively to find this solution. The deal announced today by the EPA represents the fundamental principles of our legislation and looks to improve the quality of the Sound for the future," said Senator Clinton. "This is a tremendous victory -- it will mean a cleaner Sound and the development of new and better disposal methods for material dredged from harbors around the Sound."
"I'm pleased that the legislation Senator Clinton and I offered has served as the catalyst for compromise," Congressman Bishop said. "Connecticut and New York must be applauded for adopting many of our recommendations and for putting state boundaries aside to protect our shared natural resource. This plan recognizes the Long Island Sound as a valuable natural resource, not a dumping ground," he added.
"The combined efforts of the county, state and federal governments have resulted in this commitment to developing a comprehensive plan for dredge spoils and to restrict dumping these materials in the Sound," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. "The Long Island Sound is too important an economic and environmental resource to the entire region to be used as a long-term receptacle for dredged materials."
The deal, which is incorporated in a "site designation" announced by EPA today, sets a process that will govern disposal in the Sound going forward. Components of that process include:
- Any disposal must receive authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is subject to EPA review. Specifically, the dredged material must satisfy environmental impact criteria contained in existing regulations.
- Before dredge material is disposed at one of the open-water sites, it must be determined that there are no practicable, environmentally preferable management options available, such as landfill disposal, beach nourishment, or treatment.
- Use of the sites will be curtailed if a Dredged Material Management Plan for Long Island Sound to help manage dredged materials in a cost-effective and environmentally acceptable manner is not completed within 8 years.
- The disposal sites will be subject to new management and monitoring protocols to track site conditions and prevent environmental damage. If this monitoring shows unacceptable damage, EPA can close the sites.
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 last year, they have lobbied other elected representatives, EPA officials and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers on this important issue.