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Vital Funding For Long Island Sound Protection Included In Omnibus Bill

Anastasia Lennon

In light of these threats, Esposito views funding to the Long Island Sound to be "more vital than ever." (Photo: Nicole Barylski)

In March, environmentalists won an important battle for the protection of the Long Island Sound. In its 2018 Omnibus Bill, Congress included a record-setting $12 million to be appropriated for Long Island Sound protection and restoration projects.

Just last year, President Trump eliminated the Long Island Sound funding from the proposed budget. In response, the Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and other environmental groups, individual stakeholders, and elected officials pushed back through outreach campaigns. In 2016 and 2017, over 20 groups traveled to the nation's capital to lobby for continued funding. As part of this effort, CCE and other groups collected 35,800 signatures and 13,016 letters to federal elected officials requesting the restoration of funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Long Island Sound.

This year, President Trump, again, approved a budget proposal that included the elimination of funding for the Long Island Sound. Despite this, and due to the persistence of many environmental groups and community members, the 2018 omnibus budget that was passed included an increase in funding for this "Estuary of National Significance," that supports the local economy and is integral to our ecosystem.

"We are ecstatic that critically important Long Island Sound protection and restoration programs will be receiving a record $12 million," said Citizens Campaign for the Environment's Executive Director, Adrienne Esposito. "We are deeply thankful to our Congressional and Senate LIS champions for recognizing and fighting for this beloved waterway."

According to Esposito, federal funding that has previously been allocated for nitrogen reduction, habitat restoration, wetland protection, and water quality projects has had a very measurable and beneficial impact on the condition of Long Island's beaches, fisheries, and ecosystem. There still remain other, unaddressed threats, though, such as a "failing and aging" sewage infrastructure, climate change, a rise in sea levels, and contaminants. In light of these threats, Esposito views funding to the Long Island Sound to be "more vital than ever."

"The public cares immensely about the health of the Long Island Sound and we are grateful to everyone who joined the effort both in Washington, D.C. and locally, in fighting to restore Long Island Sound," added Esposito.

CCE was established in 1985 by a group of concerned citizens with a mission to advance stronger environmental policy through public involvement, lobbying, and education.

For more information, please visit www.citizenscampaign.org.

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