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Source: The Day

EPA makes Long Island Sound dredge disposal site official

Posted: December 7, 2016
Originally Published: December 6, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency published its final rule establishing the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredging Disposal Site in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the final step in a long process to designate a new area where material dug out of channels, harbors and marinas can be dumped.

The 1.3-square mile area, located in Connecticut waters between the mouth of the Thames River and Fishers Island, replaces an adjacent dredge disposal site that will close on Dec. 23. It was established over the objections of New York State, but with the support of the entire Connecticut and Rhode Island Congressional delegations, including Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

Courtney said the publication of the final rule is significant for the region’s maritime economy, and will benefit projects planned for the Port of New London and the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.

“The final designation of this site could not come at a more important time for our region,” Courtney said in a news release.

The Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which opposed the establishment of the disposal site, praised a pledge by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sue the EPA to stop the site from being activated.

“EPA’s expansion of dumping in Long Island Sound is a reckless plan that will damage the estuary,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director for the organization.

In its announcement, the EPA said the designation comes with restrictions on use of the site that will “help meet the goal of reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in the open waters of Long Island Sound.”

The final rule also imposes standards and procedures to promote the development and use of “practicable alternatives” to open-water disposal, and establishes an interagency panel of federal and state agency representatives who will work together to identify, develop and promote these alternatives, including using sand for beach nourishment, the EPA said. The panel also will review dredging projects and offer recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which grants permits for individual dredging proposals.