U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, along with Representative Joe Courtney, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, have sent a letter to EPA to express their support for the proposed rule to designate a new Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (ELDS).
“As representatives from the region, we understand firsthand the importance of preserving and protecting the environment in and around the Sound for future generations to enjoy,” wrote the members.
“The environmental soundness of Long Island Sound dredging is a clear focus of the ELDS. The proposed rule is consistent with the federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Plans for New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
“Furthermore, it should be noted that without access to the ELDS, it is expected that transporting dredged materials to other sites, like the Rhode Island Disposal Site, will increase carbon emissions from ships and risk of dredged material spills as transport distance is extended.
“Our states have been responsibly dredging using open-water placement for 35 years and we believe that swift adoption of the ELDS, along with an increased effort to find sustainable on-land solutions for suitable dredged materials, will provide the Long Island Sound region with a balanced approach for future waterway maintenance projects.”
Following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ final Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) issued in January, the EPA determined that a new site was necessary for long-term open-water dredged material disposal in the Long Island Sound region.
The EPA is proposing the new ELDS because it provides the best option for minimal environmental impact.
The two current dredging disposal sites in the area, Cornfield Shoals and New London, which are both short-term sites managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be closed.