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CCE IN THE NEWS

Source: Long Island Herald

Coalition calls on Cuomo to fund Bay Park pipe

BY BARBRA RUBIN-PERRY

Posted: August 18, 2015
Originally Published: August 12, 2015

Bay Park Coalition members.

COURTESY OFFICE OF TODD KAMINSKY
From left: Ryan Stanton from the Long Island Federation of Labor, Scott Bochner of Sludge Stoppers, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, Representative of the Island Park Business and Residential Chamber Tommy Asher, Rich Henning of United Water, Rob Weltner of Operation Splash, Carl Lobue of the Nature Conservancy, Tawaun Weber of Vision Long Island, Adrienne Esposito and Maurren Murphy of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

A broad coalition of Long Islanders traveled to Governor’s office to ask for funding for the Bay Park outfall pipe. The group – which consisted of environmental, labor and community leaders -- met with Bill Mulrow, Secretary to Governor Cuomo, August 4, in New York City.

During the meeting, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky and the coalition stressed the importance and vitality of the outfall pipe and the once-in-a-generation opportunity that the project presents. In particular, the group highlighted the importance of state funding, as well as securing any available federal monies for the project. The group is hopeful that this dialogue will reinvigorate discussions concerning the project and lead to its implementation.

The coalition included leaders from Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Operation Splash, Long Island Federation of Labor, Vision Long Island, United Water, a scientist and residents from Island Park and Long Beach.

Various groups have been asking for funding for the outfall pipe since Hurricane Sandy inundated the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and allowed thousands of gallons of raw sewage to flow unchecked into Reynolds Channel for weeks. The environmentalist want the pipe extended out into the ocean, instead of dumping 50 million gallons of treated sewage into the channel every day. They have found that the waters in the channel do not flush, and the treated sewage ends up sifting to the bottom.

FEMA has refused to fund the project because, it says, new stringent nitrogen reduction laws were not in effect before Sandy, and the pipe itself was not damaged in the storm. New York state claims it does not have enough money for the proposed $690 million project. Nassau County has already been awarded $810 million in FEMA funds earmarked to rebuild the plant. Now an additional $150 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money will be used for a nitrogen-removal system.

Attendees articulated the need for the outfall pipe in order to protect the health of the community, revive the marine ecosystems of Long Island’s back bays and stimulate economic growth in the region. Bay Park residents and local community members have also been vocal in their support for the outfall pipe, citing it frequently as one of the community’s top needs.