US House authorizes $65 million for Long Island Sound

In the continuing effort to preserve and protect Long Island Sound, the House of Representatives passed a Water Resources bill last week authorizing up to $65 million for monitoring, planning, and restoration of Long Island Sound for each year over the next five years.

The Water Resources bill now moves on to the Senate, where it is expected to pass quickly and be signed by the president by the end of the month.

“This is an important step toward funding healthy waters along with clean, restored, and resilient rivers, marshes, and dunes all around the Sound,” said Curt Johnson, president of CFE/Save the Sound. “Congress will need to follow up by appropriating a specific funding level to restore the Sound within the Fiscal Year 2019 budget process. Restoring clean water and bringing back an abundance of fish and wildlife is an economic engine for our region. This is a tremendous investment opportunity for our economy, our region, and our children. If the Sound receives the full authorized $65 million as an appropriation, it would truly be historic—cause for every citizen, osprey, and striped bass to celebrate.”

(Below is DeLauro, Zeldin, Suozzi’s press release)

Today, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), and Tom Suozzi (NY-03), co-chairs of the bipartisan Long Island Sound Caucus, secured a 5-year reauthorization of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Long Island Sound Program funded at $65 million per year through House passage of America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which included the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act (H.R. 1674). This legislation now heads back to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“The passage of this bill helps ensure the Long Island Sound will remain a valuable resource for generations to come,” Rep. DeLauro said.“By prioritizing the long-term health of one of our greatest natural treasures, this legislation protects our environment and serves communities throughout the region. In addition to that important stewardship, it contains critical investments for our regional economy, as the Long Island Sound contributes tens of billions of dollars to the regional economy through commercial and recreational fishing, ecotourism, and other water dependent businesses. This is a win for the people of Connecticut and New York, and I am proud that we were able to get this done by working across the aisle on their behalf.”

“The Long Island Sound is a critical part of our way of life, culture and economy, supporting tens of billion of dollars in economic value per year,” Rep. Zeldin said. “The health and vitality of the Sound help so many hardworking Long Islanders put food on the table and provide a better future for their families. Protecting and restoring this important waterway, which has suffered from pollution and overdevelopment for too many years goes hand in hand with improving our area’s water quality, restoring our natural habitats and improving local residents’ quality of life. Finally, working across the aisle and across the Sound, instead of facing the threat of being gutted year after year, this program and those who rely on it have the long-term certainty they need to carry out their important work. I urge my Senate colleagues to take up and pass this critical legislation as soon as possible.”

“This is a great victory for the Long Island Sound - our national park,” Rep. Suozzi said. “I’ve spent my entire life in, on and around the sound, and witnessed firsthand its transformation and revitalization. From my days as Mayor of Glen Cove and Nassau County Executive, to my first term in Congress, I’ve championed efforts and policies to clean up the Sound. We have made tremendous progress over the past 20 years, but must continue to build on today’s momentum. I will continue to fight for funding and policies that will help preserve the gains we’ve made and make further strides so generations to come can enjoy the natural splendor of the Sound.”