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EDITORIAL: Sound Merits Full Funding

Posted: October 23, 2009
Originally Published: October 23, 2009

Congress has good and not so good news for Long Island Sound.

Good news came from the House, which appropriated a record $15 million to fund programs restoring clean waters in the Sound, much of this owing to the efforts of Rep. Steve Israel of Huntington.

Environmental advocates were encouraged.

"A reliable, stable funding source which will allow us to conduct these large-scale programs to restore our Long Island Sound and protect it," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

But as recent congressional testimony revealed, past spending has achieved mixed results.

Less nitrogen is being flushed into the Sound thanks to sewage treatment plant upgrades, but hypoxia--the condition caused by excess nitrogen--remains an intractable problem. The Long Island Sound Study blames such factors as climate change and storm water runoff for much of it.

Yet with an additional $15 million in federal funds, environmental officials believe they can combat runoff, restore costal habitat and upgrade sewage treatment plants.

Unfortunately, the Senate has only approved $3 million for the Sound. With House-Senate conferees now hashing out the final number, we hope they'll agree on the full $15 million.