AG Tong and Congressman Courtney Applaud Decision in Dredging Case Vital to CT Maritime Economy
Without Dredging, Groton Would Lose Ability to Launch and Build Submarines(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong and Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) applauded a decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Rosado v. Pruitt upholding the lawful selection of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site for dredged materials.
Connecticut intervened in the case, defending the site selection made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after exhaustive environmental review and public input.
“This is a major victory for Connecticut’s maritime economy. Thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue depend on the ability to dredge and safely deposit materials. The Eastern Long Island Sound site was selected after exhaustive review and public input, and any disposal of dredged materials will require full environmental review and compliance with Connecticut water quality standards. The New York challenge was without merit,” said Attorney General Tong.
“Judge Korman’s decision emphatically validated the painstaking care with which the EPA, under President Obama, documented the environmental and economic benefits of the ELDS dredging plan,” said Congressman Courtney. “The groundswell of input from small marinas, local and state officials, and large stakeholders such as the Submarine Naval Base New London, Cross Sound Ferry, and Electric Boat, clearly made a decisive impact on Judge Korman, who frequently cited their amicus briefs and affidavits. Now that that court has ruled, it is time to finally exit the courthouse and instead implement the innovative, environmentally sound plan that both states helped craft over an eight-year period for the mutual benefit of the region.”
“The Court has clearly affirmed that EPA’s designation of the Eastern Long Island Sound Disposal Site was solidly grounded in both process and its consideration of relevant environmental and navigation concerns,” DEEP Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Quality Betsey Wingfield said. “This site provides an environmentally-sound and cost-effective option for management of dredged sediment in the eastern Long Island Sound region that will support the needs of Connecticut’s water-dependent businesses and national security interests while we continue to pursue alternatives to open-water disposal.”
Long Island Sound dredging is crucial to Connecticut's maritime economy, with major employers and stakeholders including Electric Boat, the Connecticut Port Authority, the Connecticut Harbor Management Association, the Cross Sound Ferry and others all weighing in in support. The United States Army Corps of Engineers found that without dredging, the ability to launch and build submarines in Groton "would be eliminated."
In addition to the economic impact, failure to dredge would have a negative impact on the state's air and water quality. Diverting transport of fuel oil, gasoline and other bulk products away from our ports and onto our congested highways would increase air pollution. Failure to dredge also increases the risk of marine collisions and sinkings, with increased risk of oil spills. Any disposal of dredged materials will require a full review of environmental impacts and must comply with Connecticut's Water Quality Standards.
Assistant Attorney General Robert Snook and Assistant Attorney General Matt Levine, Head of the Environment Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.