Toxic Silt Is Not Okay For Long Island Sound

Taking the easy way out

Long Island Sound is a federally designated no-discharge zone, but apparently no one told the right people at the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. The corps, which is rapidly readying a lunatic plan to destroy the Montauk downtown oceanfront in order to save it, and the E.P.A. are ready to continue dumping dredged material in the Sound, as close to eastern Long Island as off New London.

An unusual coalition has sprung up to demand alternatives to placing toxin-laden silt from Connecticut rivers into this highly important waterway. Those calling for a better solution include New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Brookhaven officials, Suffolk Legislator Al Krupski, and Kevin McAllister, a well-known activist. They want the corps to find other places for the spoils and to segregate those that are toxic from the rest, which they say should be placed in upland sites, not in the water. They and others have pointed out that this is exactly what New York and Connecticut pledged to do in 2005 with a promised phase-out of at-sea dumping.

Several hearings have been held on the plan to continue using the Sound’s dump sites, and written comment will be taken by the Army Corps until the end of next week. However, we get the sense that, as with downtown Montauk, the corps in particular is taking the easy way out. Obviously, what is needed is for the region’s representatives in Washington to get involved, and fast. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York and Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Representative Lee Zeldin, have all signed on to measures designed to protect and restore Long Island Sound. They each should take an immediate, personal role in bringing an end to the use of it as a garbage dump.