Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) today announced that the Omnibus Appropriations bill, which is set to pass Congress, includes $8 million in federal funding for the Long Island Sound program. The federal investment is over $4 million more than last year’s funding level.
“This critical funding will help preserve the Long Island Sound—one of our nation’s most precious natural treasures—for years to come. Not only is the Sound home to a diverse array of wildlife, it is the foundation for hundreds of jobs in the tourism, shellfish, manufacturing, and maritime industries. I will continue working with my colleagues to build on this momentum, and ensure future generations can enjoy the incredible environmental and economic benefits of the Long Island Sound,” said Senator Blumenthal.
“Doubling the money for the Long Island Sound program this year will go a long way towards better protecting the ecological treasure,” said Senator Murphy. “This $8 million will be used to improve Long Island Sound, and it will ultimately inject money right back into the local economy along Connecticut’s shoreline.”
“The Long Island Sound is a national treasure with a significant ecological and economic value, contributing at least $17 billion to the regional economy from commercial and recreational fishing, ecotourism, and other water dependent businesses,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “I am pleased that we could provide $8 million in the omnibus bill, which doubles the $4 million provided last year and will ensure that the Long Island Sound remains a life-sustaining piece of our environment and our economy for years to come. As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Long Island Sound Caucus, I will continue to fight for funding for the Long Island Sound and the communities it serves."
Last month the bipartisan Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act unanimously passed out of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is headed to the full Senate for a vote.
Earlier this year, the members led a bipartisan letter to the Environmental Protection Agency urging Administrator Scott Pruitt to oppose cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Long Island Sound geographic program for Fiscal Year 2018.
The Sound borders Connecticut and New York, with 9 million people living on the coast and 24 million people living within 50 miles of the coast. Although decades of high levels of development, pollution, dumping of dredged materials, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the Sound’s water quality, the Sound’s economic contribution, including from sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation, and tourism is estimated to be between $17 billion and $37 billion annually. These federal funds support programs to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the Long Island Sound from sewage treatment plants, and address low oxygen levels and nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations as well as hurt shoreline wetlands.