U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is concerned about Long Island Sound and wants something done to help preserve it.
Connecticut’s junior senator joined Mayor John Harkins and Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound, last Friday at Short Beach to learn about the importance of preserving the Sound and Connecticut’s coastline.
During the visit, Murphy called for passage of his Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act, which he introduced earlier this summer with fellow Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and New York state Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer in an effort to secure more federal funding for the restoration of the Sound.
Long Island Sound contributes between $17 billion and $37 billion to Connecticut’s economy annually, but decades of overdevelopment, pollution, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the water quality and the Sound’s economic prosperity.
“Long Island Sound is Connecticut’s most valuable natural resource,” Murphy said. “It’s a proven economic driver for Connecticut, generating billions of dollars in tourism, fishing, shellfishing, and boating for the state annually, not to mention the more than 1,300 square miles of coast that serve as home to hundreds of diverse wildlife species.
“For the millions of people who rely on Long Island Sound for work and recreation each year, we have an obligation to pass the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act and prioritize federal investments in its restoration and long-term health – it’s clear that similar investments at Short Beach are truly making a difference,” he added.
Johnson said, “Our vision for Long Island Sound is simple: clean beaches that are healthy for all to enjoy. With the Sound Health Explorer, citizens have, for the first time, a clear picture of how far we have to go. Folks need to look no further than their own neighborhoods and communities for the problems — but also for the solutions.”
“In recent years Connecticut has begun seriously investing in its clean water legacy through the state Clean Water Fund to successfully upgrade wastewater infrastructure and implement stormwater projects. Now it’s time for municipalities to look to their beaches to clean up problems at the local level,” Johnson added. “Our message is one of hope — despite the current number of unsafe and unhealthy beaches, they can all be fixed. It’s time for serious local action to make sure it’s safe for our kids and grandkids to enjoy our urban sea for decades to come.”