Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General, Legislative Leaders Announce Bill To Create CT-NY Commission On Long Island Sound

March 13, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and legislators today announced legislation to create a joint Connecticut-New York commission to establish a joint strategy on regional environmental and energy needs.

Blumenthal was joined at a press conference today by environmental advocates and legislative leaders, including State Sen. Ed Meyer, D-Guilford, and State Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, co chairs of the Environment Committee; State Sens. Andrea L. Stillman, D-Waterford, and Len Fasano, R-North Haven, co-chairs of the Broadwater Task Force; and State Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, a statewide environmental leader.

The proposed commission would not replace existing state and federal licensing and regulatory bodies, but would review ways that both states can work proactively to address shared needs for new renewable energy sources and to protect the Long Island Sound from environmental harm.

"Our victories over Broadwater and Islander East underscore the need for joint and proactive action related to environmental and energy needs," Blumenthal said. "Our states are tightly bound by historic opportunity and necessity. Today we call for establishing a joint commission between Connecticut and New York -- representing businesses, ordinary citizens, environmental groups, commercial and recreational users of the Sound, utility regulators, and consumer advocates.

"A positive shared strategy is essential, combining both energy and environment, and both Connecticut and New York. Simply and solely reacting or rejecting is not effective public policy. Joining together both sides of the Sound, this commission can work to develop a regional consensus that serves both environmental protection and energy needs. Blumenthal added, "Long Island Sound binds our two states irrevocably, provides billions of dollars in economic and other benefits, and must be a shared commitment. Burdens and benefits must be shared equally."

Leah Schmalz, Director of Legislative and Legal Affairs for Save the Sound, said, "Long Island Sound is a beautiful and treasured landscape. This legislation takes the first steps towards establishing continued cooperation between Connecticut and New York on issues critical to the long term sustainability of Long Island Sound. It ensures we are not spending valuable resources singularly when a regional response is called for to protect and grow this vital economy."

Specifically, the proposed commission would consider:

  • designating areas of Long Island Sound that must be protected from all development -- perhaps through a new federal or multi-state marine park.

  • reviewing ways in which our states can work jointly to support new renewable sources of energy.

  • additional new ways to encourage energy efficiency and conservation to reduce oil reliance.

  • jointly supporting liquefied gas facilities -- alternatives to Broadwater off the New York or New Jersey coasts -- that help meet the energy needs of our region with this relatively clean energy source.

Blumenthal added, "New York Gov. Paterson has taken a courageous critical step toward interstate cooperation by decisively rejecting Broadwater -- a monstrosity that would have blighted the Sound environmentally and aesthetically, creating a clear and present security danger, as well as a navigation nightmare."