Giglio Calls on EPA, Army Corp of Engineers and the Department of Energy to Find a New Location, Not a New Location in the Long Island Sound, to Dispose of Connecticut Dredge Spoils

Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C,I-Riverhead) held a press conference today with community leadership following a federal court’s decision to uphold an EPA decision to allow the state of Connecticut to dump dredge into the Long Island Sound. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has argued that the decision is a necessity for the upkeep of the state’s maritime economy. Giglio, meanwhile, is concerned with the environmental impact this leaves New Yorkers to deal with.

“Long Island prides itself on keeping its shores clean and its beaches pristine, a job that is taxed extraneously thanks to this federal court decision,” Giglio said. “Our state, federal and local governments have invested millions upon millions into local ecological restoration and upkeep to keep the Long Island Sound a clean and healthy location to be enjoyed for generations to come. The federal court has condemned the sound, which is currently a Stewardship site and prioritized for conservation due to its highly sensitive eelgrass beds that are protected by the 2012 Sea Grass Protection Act of New York, to pollution and degradation following this decision.The proposed location, the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site (ELDS) is at the head of the race and has some of the strongest tidal currents in the east coast.The site is in an extremely shallow part of the sound-contaminants will be directly deposited onto the shores of Fishers Island and will have a detrimental effect on what is arguably New York States last bastion of healthy thriving sea grass beds.There are few locations so poorly suited as this one.I am asking the EPA, the Army Corp of Engineers, and the Department of Energy and Environment Protection to reevaluate the range of options for disposing of these dredge spoils and make decisions that are acceptable to all stakeholders and consistent with their mission to protect the environment, the economy, and the people living along the sound.”

“The Long Island Sound should absolutely not be a dumping ground for any questionable waste dredged out of Connecticut rivers,” Congressman Lee Zeldin said. “I have long supported phasing out all open water disposal of dredged waste into the Sound and have worked throughout my four terms in Congress to secure tens of millions of dollars dedicated to the Sound’s long-term vitality.”

"I want to thank Assemblywoman Giglio for organizing this press conference," said Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski. "I would have thought in this day and age, there would have been more of a science-based decision as to how to dispose of contaminated dredge spoil, and alternatives would have been thoroughly explored before opting to dump it into the Long Island Sound.This is contrary to all the efforts to this Estuary of National Significance."

“The court’s decision to allow the dumping of dredge spoil from Connecticut’s urbanized rivers and harbors into the healthy waters of the eastern Long Island Sound is a costly and reckless step backwards in the multi-billion-dollar public investment that has been committed to restoring the Sound for decades,” said Bob DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End. “We believe every effort should be made to protect and restore our precious coastal waters and the multitude of public benefits that a clean and healthy marine environment provides, and we stand with our local officials who are working to achieve these goals.”

“The Fishers Island Conservancy stands in unity with those who reject and condemn the short-sighted decision of the court to reopen the New London Disposal Site as detrimental to the ecological health of Eastern Long Island Sound,” said FI Conservancy President Tom Sargent. “These waters are home to some of the last remaining seagrass meadows in all of Long Island Sound, serving as critical habitat for various wildlife and vital spawning grounds for commercial and recreational fisheries and shellfish. The damage from dredge spoils will have long-term repercussions, impacting not only the ecosystem, but all those who enjoy these waters for both recreational and commercial use.”

“We are appalled that the court has upheld the EPA’s decision to dump dredge material into the Long Island Sound,” said North Fork Environmental Council President Mark Haubner. “This amounts to a permit to pollute our waterway and flies in the face of the EPA’s mission to protect the environment.”

“The decision by the EPA to allow for the dumping of contaminated dredge spoils taken from private businesses into a deposit site less than two miles from Fishers Island not only poses a threat to the people of Southold Town, it will have profound negative effects on the environmental health of the Sound, those who rely on the Sound for their livelihood and will undo years of coordinated efforts to restore this nationally recognized estuary,” said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.

“I joined Assemblywoman Giglio, Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, and all those who care about our environment in strongly opposing Connecticut’s desire to dump dredge spoils in the Long Island Sound, which is one of 15 national estuaries that we have in the United States,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. “New York does not dispose of its dredge spoils in the Long Island Sound and nor should Connecticut.This dumping will affect aquamarine life and the health of the Long Island Sound and all of those who make their living from the Sound.”

“Long Islanders should not see the natural beauty of their living area destroyed by an operation that isn’t even conducted in our own state. The fight to repeal this decision and return to a healthy Long Island Sound is not over. Long Island, and New York at large, deserves more consideration in this conversation,” Giglio concluded.