Some of my earliest memories are of summer days spent by the Sound, and evenings of barbecues, fireworks and theater. The powerful beauty and significance of this precious natural resource inspire us to protect and preserve it.
In the fights I’ve waged against those who would harm the Sound, I have learned a significant fact about environmental advocacy: the most important force is citizen activists with the courage and commitment to fight for the Sound. Organizations like the Connecticut Fund for the Environment are critical to mobilizing that citizen activism.
Citizen activists were instrumental to our victory over Broadwater, the floating natural gas plant. They were at the front lines against Islander East, and their pipeline and cable plans. And we fought together against coal burning plants in the Midwest that spewed contaminates over the Sound.
And citizen activists will be crucial in the effort to preserve the Sound for future generations. I have called for the creation of a Marine Sanctuary that would put parts of the seabed off limits to any development. Such an effort would require New York and Connecticut to work together even more closely to protect the Sound’s fragile seabed.
The federal government is helping bring together the Northeast region in support of the Sound through a partnership that will reduce pollution from run off into the Connecticut River and other tributaries. The Long Island Sound Watershed Partnership was recently established to build on efforts to maintain habitats that directly affect the Sound’s water quality. The Partnership brings together the six states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island) that are home to the waterways that flow into the Sound. This partnership reminds us that preserving Long Island Sound is the responsibility of not just one state, but many.
As we look to the future, I will continue to fight for funding for Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act. As the Connecticut Fund for the Environment reminds us through its great work, we have a responsibility for good stewardship every day, in all seasons, and especially, May 25th, Long Island Sound Day.
Senator Richard Blumenthal is the junior senator for the State of Connecticut.