The Connecticut Port Authority and seven other Connecticut parties – including Western Connecticut Council of Governments, based in Sandy Hook – have been named friends of the court in a case set to determine whether the approved site for disposal of dredged materials in the eastern part of Long Island Sound will go forward.
The designation allows the organizations to show their support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allot a 1.3 square nautical mile area south of New London as the site of the dredge dump. In the case Rosado v. Pruitt, the state of New York has challenged the EPA’s choice and is seeking to have it overturned by a federal district court in New York. The EPA’s decision was made after more than four years of study and review and input from the public, and was supported by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The Port Authority plans to argue that the disposal of approved dredge material is vital to ensuring that waters remain open for commercial shippers and recreational boaters. The organization posits that routine, predictable dredging of ports and harbors helps maintain the health of both the maritime economy and the ecosystem.
Dredging materials have been used to nourish beaches and undo damage caused by strong storms, weather patterns, and other forces, it said.
“Connecticut is on the right side on this issue and we are happy with the court’s decision,” said Scott Bates, chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority. “Dredging is crucial to keeping our waterways open for commercial shippers, recreational boaters, and fishermen.
“Depositing sediments in the eastern part of the Sound is critical to the long-term integrity of our ports and harbors,” Bates continued. “Alternative sites are much more costly and disruptive to the ecosystems in the Sound. New York is taking an unreasonable position that, over time, will in time be harmful to both Connecticut and the Sound.”
The other Connecticut entities joining the Connecticut Port Authority in the court action are Electric Boat Corp., the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Cross Sound Ferry Services Inc., the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, and the South Central Region Council of Governments.