Congressman Joe Courtney and Senator Jack Reed yesterday sent a letter signed by the entire Congressional delegations from Connecticut and Rhode Island to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to express their continued support for the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (ELDS).
While the ELDS is already open since the final designation for the site was made in December 2016, a recent lawsuit filed by the State of New York in federal court has prompted the Connecticut and Rhode Island delegations to reiterate how important the dredging disposal site is for the local economies and for national security.
Courtney and Reed were joined by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), John Larson (CT-1), Jim Langevin (RI-2), Jim Himes (CT-04), David Cicilline (RI-1), and Elizabeth Esty (CT-5).
“We have long agreed with the goal of the EPA throughout the DMMP process to balance environmental stewardship with standard economic activity in Long Island Sound,” wrote the members. “Our states have been responsibly dredging using open-water placement for 35 years, and we believe maintaining the EPA designation of the ELDS, along with an increased effort among the states to find sustainable on-land solutions for dredged materials, will continue to provide the Long Island Sound region with a balanced approach for future waterway projects.”
The members continued: “The final approval of the ELDS by the EPA filled a critical need in supporting navigation-dependent industries that border and traverse eastern Long Island Sound. The economic vitality of the Long Island Sound is closely connected to the shipping, recreational fishing and boating, ferry transportation and military operations that occur in these waters – all of which would be deeply harmed without access to the ELDS. We must continue to embrace our maritime heritage and protect this balanced, sustainable final rule designating the ELDS to maintain our dredging needs.”
This is the third letter the Connecticut and Rhode Island congressional delegation have sent to EPA regarding the ELDS. The previous two letters were sent in July and October of 2016.