- In partnership with the bipartisan Long Island delegation in the House of Representatives, Congressman Tim Bishop
has introduced new legislation to protect and restore Long Island Sound. The Long Island Sound Improvement Act (H.R. 5876) provides regulatory tools for states and municipalities to protect waters throughout the Sound's watershed and authorizes funding to restore and preserve water quality.
The legislation is also sponsored by all members of the Long Island Sound Caucus, a group of regional lawmakers committed to protecting the Sound.
"This bipartisan legislation will allow us to take the next steps in the effort to protect the Long Island Sound," Bishop said. "Long Islanders know there is an important connection between the health of our environment and the health of our economy. This legislation allows us to protect both."
The Long Island Sound Improvement Act authorizes continued appropriations of $40 million for the Sound as well as new funding - $125 million in the first year, and $250 million per year thereafter - for wastewater infrastructure repair, construction, and upgrades, including stormwater systems, and green infrastructure technology and approaches.
The legislation also extends the footprint of the Long Island Sound program through the whole watershed that drains into Long Island Sound. This includes elements of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. It also seeks to improve accountability by requiring evaluations of the Long Island Sound program every two years to determine whether activities are meeting goals set out in the management plan.
The legislation directs the Environmental Protection Agency
to develop new regulations for regional stormwater general permits. Under this authority, communities have the option of coordinating their stormwater management activities under a regional stormwater general permit. This practice has been demonstrated to reduce the overall cost and increase the effectiveness of stormwater controls. The legislation would provide a more attractive federal cost-share to entities that voluntarily join regional permits.
In addition to Long Island Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), other original cosponsors of H.R. 5876 include: Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. John Hall (D-NY), Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-NY), and Rep. José Serrano (D-NY).
The legislation has been endorsed by Citizens' Campaign for the Environment and Long Island elected officials, including New York Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Suffolk County Legislature Deputy Presiding Officer Vivian Viloria-Fisher, Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine
, and Brookhaven Town Councilman Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld.