WNPR

U.S. House Budget Doubles Funding For Long Island Sound

Jul 26, 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget called for eliminating federal dollars that would help clean and protect Long Island Sound. But the U.S. House of Representatives had different priorities and doubled next year’s allocation for the Sound.

The House voted in May to restore $8 million in federal funding for continued environmental restoration efforts to Long Island Sound -- twice what it’s been in previous years -- after a push from environmentalists and lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, from Connecticut and New York.

Curt Johnson, executive director of Save the Sound -- a group that advocates in new York and Connecticut on environmental preservation issues -- said the funding will also double the money for grant projects, which will be announced in October. One of the ideas they’re considering is something called Sound Sleuths.

“Which are citizen scientists in a couple dozen bays and harbors all around the sound, understanding the science of nitrogen pollution,” said Johnson. They'll look at issues like: “How murky is the water? How is the oxygen in the water? Are the fish in danger of being suffocated?”

Other projects include river restoration, and increased water monitoring and testing.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro called the vote an enormous victory.

“We’ve got more than 23 million people that live within 50 miles of the Sound,” DeLauro said. “And according to the Long Island Sound study, the economic value of the Sound is between $17 billion and $37 billion each year.”

The next stop is the Senate. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the budget in the coming months.