Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today announced that the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act has passed the Senate as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). Gillibrand’s provision to revise the Army Corps of Engineers’ standards for the disposal of dredged material, which would help protect Long Island Sound and other waterways throughout New York, also passed the Senate as part of WRDA. The Senate passed WRDA by a vote of 95 to 3.
“I have fought to pass these two key provisions to help protect the long-term health of the Long Island Sound, and I am pleased the Senate passed these critical provisions as part of the Water Resources Development Act” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Long Island Sound is one of our most important natural treasures, and a vital economic anchor that supports thousands of local jobs. These provisions would strengthen our environmental protection initiatives and help keep Long Island Sound clean for years to come.”
The Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act combines two complementary water quality and shore restoration program authorizations at their previous authorization levels of $40 million and $25 million per year, respectively.
Senator Gillibrand introduced the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act earlier this year with Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT). This legislation provides additional focus, oversight and coordination of federal activities related to the restoration of Long Island Sound.
Gillibrand’s other provision that passed WRDA requires that dredged materials disposed in open waters meet state water quality standards. This would ensure that any dredged material that does not meet New York State’s water quality standards will not be disposed of by the Army Corps in the open waters of Long Island Sound. The legislation also includes language that would allow the Army Corps to use dredged material for other beneficial uses that do not include open water dumping, even if those beneficial uses are not the least-cost alternative but provide other environmental restoration, flood protection or resiliency benefits.