EPA Decision on Long Island Sound Disposal Site Sparks Unrest

The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday published its final rule establishing the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredging Disposal Site (ELDS) in the Federal Register.

With the publication of this rule, EPA is designating ELDS, located offshore from New London, Connecticut, for the disposal of dredged material from harbors and navigation channels in eastern Long Island Sound and Little Narragansett Bay in the states of Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island.

This action is necessary to provide a long-term, open-water dredged material disposal site as an alternative for the possible future disposal of such material, EPA said.

The disposal site designation is subject to restrictions designed to support the goal of reducing or eliminating the disposal of dredged material in Long Island Sound.

In his reaction to this decision, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York intends to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and challenge EPA’s decision to designate the eastern Long Island Sound as a permanent disposal site for dredged materials.

“As I have said time and again, New York is deeply concerned with the EPA’s efforts to designate a permanent dumping site in the eastern part of the Long Island Sound,” Governor Cuomo said.

“Continuing to use this precious economic and ecological resource as a dumping ground is unacceptable and — on behalf of current and future generations of New Yorkers — we intend to fight this decision using any and all legal means.”

New York’s notice of intent to sue comes on the same day as the EPA’s publication of its final rule designating the disposal site. The State must now wait 60 days from the date of the letter before filing a legal claim against the EPA under the Ocean Dumping Act.

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