Suffolk County Joins State Suit Against EPA Over LI Sound Dredge Spoil Dumping

Supermoon melt, 6:50 a.m. Jan 31, Cutchogue.
January’s Supermoon over the Long Island Sound in Cutchogue.

Suffolk County has been granted intervener status in New York State’s lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s proposed dredge spoil dumping site in the Long Island Sound, at the urging of North Fork Legislator Al Krupski.

The suit, Rosado v. Pruitt, filed last summer, challenges the EPA’s designation of a site in the Long Island Sound, known as the Eastern Long Island Disposal Site (ELDS), as a permanent open water site for the disposal of dredged materials. 

Although the ELDS is technically located in Connecticut waters, it is located midway between Connecticut and New York, less than 1.5 nautical miles from Fishers Island, which is part of Southold Town and Suffolk County. The ELDS is located in an area that has never before been used for open water disposal.

Among other points, the suit contends the EPA failed to adequately investigate alternatives to open water disposal and overestimated the need for the new site. New York State also argues the designation is inconsistent with the Ocean Dumping Act and the state’s Coastal Zone Management Act.

The Long Island Sound was designated as an Estuary of National Significance by the EPA in 1988 and is recognized as an economic engine for Suffolk County and all of Long Island, supporting both recreational and commercial businesses and contributing billions of dollars to the regional economy.

“This is another step in a decades-long fight to try and get the EPA to play by the rules,” said Legislator Krupski, who represents Southold, Riverhead and communities in eastern Brookhaven. “The Long Island Sound is threatened by pollution, warming waters and acidification and the last thing that should be done is to dump potentially toxic substances into the estuary.” 

Mr. Krupski also expressed his gratitude to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for his attention and leadership.

“Without his [Steve Bellone’s] support, Suffolk County couldn’t have joined the lawsuit,” said Mr. Krupski.

Legislators Bridget Fleming (Sag Harbor), Kara Hahn (Port Jefferson), William Spencer (Centerport), Sarah Anker (Mount Sinai) and Leslie Kennedy (Smithtown) joined Mr. Krupski in sponsoring the county legislation.

“For more than the 30 years, leaders from both shores of the Long Island Sound have invested heavily on a cooperative effort to restore its life and majesty,” said Legislator Kara Hahn, Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee. “As such, the decision by our neighbor to the north to dump potentially toxic pesticides, heavy metals and industrial byproducts into the Sound is nearly as dumbfounding as the Environmental Protection Agency’s willingness to allow it.”

 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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