HARTFORD, CT - Monday, Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment, in testimony submitted to the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, urged the legislature to support the proposed $997 million for FY 2014 and FY 2015 for the state Clean Water Fund in Senate Bill 842.
“Every year over two billion gallons of raw sewage are dumped into Long Island Sound and its tributaries, closing beaches to residents and tourists and shutting down shellfish beds to commercial and recreational harvesters,” said Leah Schmalz, director of legal and legislative affairs for Save the Sound. “And every year, hundreds of acres of Long Island Sound are plagued by a low oxygen dead zone that threatens the health of wildlife. Add to that bacteria and nutrient pollution the toxic stew of greases, oils and chemicals that collect in stormwater runoff and flow into our local waterways, and the challenge of restoring Long Island Sound becomes clear.”
“However, there are things we can do to significantly reduce that pollution and to meet the state’s legal nitrogen reduction obligation by 2014. With consistent and substantial investments in the Clean Water Fund, we can make great strides towards reducing stormwater runoff and cleaning up our waterways. Senate Bill 842 builds on previous investments to ensure we hit our clean water targets. Additionally, the proposed funding levels in the bill will create thousands upon thousands of engineering, design and construction jobs on the front end and fishing, shellfishing, and tourism jobs once the water is clean.
“We need to stay the course and continue this essential clean water investment. Doing so will protect wildlife, create thousands of good, local construction jobs, get shellfishermen back to work farming the Sound, and end the fear that our children and grandchildren will get sick by swimming at the beach. Clean water funding is a win-win and we need to ensure that ample funds are available in the future.”