This spring, House and Senate leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly created the Long Island Sound Caucus. Never before have so many legislators teamed up to tackle environmental, energy and economic issues impacting Long Island Sound. The caucus is bipartisan and includes a bi-state strategy of working with New York legislators to identify and address regional concerns and opportunities.
Conservative estimates indicate that Long Island Sound contributes well over $8.5 billion annually to the economy, both in recreational and commercial activities and jobs. Our Caucus mission is to pull together all of the disparate environmental, energy and economic Long Island Sound impacts into a comprehensive approach that educates and facilitates positive planning and effective action.
During the just concluded General Assembly session, Long Island Sound Caucus members were instrumental in crafting storm response legislation to deal with the devastation inflicted on shoreline towns by Tropical Storm Irene. Irene exposed the need for Connecticut to pay much closer attention to the vulnerabilities of Long Island Sound homes, businesses and municipal facilities such as roads, docks and sewage treatment plants. New laws passed this session allow for improved buffers that can include seawalls and other preservation measures to protect existing shoreline structures and beaches. Another new provision fast tracks and extends the permitting process so property owners can make shoreline repairs as quickly as possible. Additionally, new state laws mandate the reporting of all sewage spills into the sound and promote further reductions in phosphorous levels.
This was a very successful session for the Long Island Sound Caucus.
We are just getting started and look forward to many more.
The Long Island Sound Caucus is made up of legislators representing towns along the shoreline in Connecticut. Co-Chairs of the Long Island Sound Caucus are State Senators Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Andrew Maynard (D-Stonington) and State Representatives Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) and Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford).