By Douglas Feiden
The waters of Long Island Sound haven’t been pristine since Colonial days. But for centuries the Sound has retained its critical importance to commerce, transportation and recreation, and in recent years, clean-up efforts have bolstered water quality and even led to an uptick in visits from dolphins and whales.
Now, some of those gains are at risk, environmentalists warn, and many of them blame the agency entrusted with safeguarding the nation’s natural resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The flashpoint is a recently issued EPA decision that will continue the longstanding practice of dumping millions of cubic yards of dredged material into the open waters of eastern Long Island Sound.
“While the EPA has attempted to convince the public that it is mitigating the impacts of this polluting practice, the truth is that the EPA decision is just more of the same,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a November 7 release. “The EPA is countenancing the continued pollution of one of our most precious resources.”
Noting that the vast disposal site is entirely within the waters of Connecticut, Mr. Thiele said that should provide no consolation to the citizens of Long Island.
“One of the first lessons we learned as children when our mothers put us in the bathtub with our siblings is that what one sibling does in the bathtub affects everybody in the bathtub,” he said. “This dumping will affect all of us.”
In an August letter, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo served written notice on EPA brass that the state was prepared to take “all necessary steps” to bar federal officials from issuing a ruling that would allow dredged materials from Connecticut to be dumped into the eastern regions of the Long Island Sound.
“I urge the Governor to take the necessary legal action to stop the EPA,” Mr. Thiele said.