Clean Water Investment, Infrastructure, Economy on the Agenda
Bridgeport, CT, March 6, 2009—Save the Sound, a program of New Haven based Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Long Island Sound Study, sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, co-hosted the 19th Annual Long Island Sound Citizens Summit today in Connecticut. The Summit brings together national and regional experts, legislative leaders from New York, Connecticut, and the private sector to discuss clean water infrastructure needs in the Long Island Sound region and to consider how projects might be financed and completed.
US Senator Christopher Dodd, D-CT spoke on the national funding picture. “More than 8 million people live in the watershed of the Long Island Sound, including residents of Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven and New London,” said Dodd. “Investing in projects to keep the Long Island Sound clean is essential to the quality of life for the thousands of Connecticut residents who reside along the state’s shoreline. I shared my knowledge of what clean water projects are being discussed on the federal level as well as my ideas for how investing in sound projects can help bring jobs to the state and help to rebuild our economy.”
“These difficult economic times require thoughtful planning around investments that create high quality jobs,” said Curt Johnson, Program Director and Senior Attorney for Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “We’ve got to look at the long-term benefits of a healthy Long Island Sound. The tourism, fishing, and shellfishing economies contribute eight billion dollars to the regional economy, but they depend upon clean water and improved infrastructure to protect both human and marine health. It is absolutely critical that we use our resources to take care of and grow this asset.”
Panels on clean water investment, job creation, and infrastructure sustainability convened to discuss priority projects and key initiatives that would bolster the economy, facilitate regional cooperation, and safeguard the viability of the Sound’s economy as a whole. A keynote address by Connecticut state representative and executive director of Soundkeeper, Terry Backer, kicked off the day-long event that culminated in closing remarks by Mark Tedesco, the director of the EPA’s Long Island Sound office.
“Investments in our Nation’s clean water infrastructure are critical to protecting human health and the environment,” said Mark Tedesco, director of the EPA Long Island Sound Office. “In the Long Island Sound region, improving treatment of wastewater and stormwater will help protect and restore the Sound, while stimulating the economy and creating jobs.”
The Citizens Summit will draft a series of next steps aimed at taking advantage of stimulus dollars and investments from both New York and Connecticut to ensure the region continues to be a healthy and vital resource for all its stakeholders.
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