September 21, 2017

Op-Ed: We Can All Help Protect Long Island Sound 

State Senator Paul Formica

State Senator Paul Formica

Water quality begins at the point of discharge, not in relocation of bottom materials from one location to another.  It is a very important distinction to make when talking about one of Connecticut’s most precious assets, Long Island Sound.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released a draft Dredged Material Management Plan.  Digging up the material at the bottom of our waterways is critical to ensure public access and commerce.

This scientific plan is currently under public review.  It clearly shows open-water disposal to be the most cost effective and environmentally compatible method for getting rid of bottom material.  According to the Army Corps of Engineers, open-water placement for the majority of dredged material is the best way to protect Long Island Sound.

Why should Connecticut care?

Dredging is an economic necessity in maintaining access to and from the public waterways, harbors, rivers, coves and marinas. Consider the following about navigation-dependent activities:

  • They produce more than 55,000 jobs
  • They create $1.6 billion in federal and state tax revenues
  • They produce $9.4 billion of economic output in the Long Island Sound region
  • They generate $5.5 billion per year for the Long Island Sound Region’s State’s Gross Product

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has stated their support for this plan.  It has taken ten years to complete.

What happens if no action is taken on this plan?

No action will result in skyrocketing dredging costs, the closure of Long Island Sound open-water placement locations within a year’s time, fewer maintained ports and harbors, and significant reduction in access – all of which will substantially impair the regional economy.

I urge everyone to join me in supporting this project and helping to protect this Connecticut jewel.

Public hearings will be held Wednesday, Sept. 16, and Thursday Sept.17, one in New York and one in Connecticut.  Please check my website for updates on where and when they will happen.

Your comments can make a difference.

You can read the plan by visiting www.nae.usace.army.mil/ or write to:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
ATTN: LIS DMMP/PEIS Program Manager Meghan Quinn
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742-2751

Editor’s Note: Senator Paul M. Formica is a member of the Energy and Technology Committee of the General Assembly.

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