New York Sues EPA to Stop Waste Dump in Long Island Sound
August 21, 2017
As published by Bloomberg News, on August 17, 2017.
New York sued the Environmental Protection Agency in a bid to stop a plan to dump tens of millions of cubic yards of dredged sediments at a site in eastern Long Island Sound.
The lawsuit, announced Aug. 17 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) and state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (D), challenges the agency’s decision to designate the permanent open-water disposal site, saying it violates the Ocean Dumping Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act ( Rosado v. Pruitt , E.D.N.Y., No. 17-cv-04843, complaint 8/17/17 ).
The state leaders, with the lawsuit, opened up another front in their pledged opposition to federal environmental policies being pursued by the administration of President Donald Trump. Their complaints about the EPA plan, however, predate the new administration.
Cuomo, in a statement, called the EPA designation “unfathomable and destructive” and said it would “turn the eastern Long Island Sound into a dumping ground.”
The state will establish that the designation “poses a major threat to a significant commercial and recreational resource” and “undermines New York’s long-standing efforts to end dumping in our treasured waters.”
Opposition Started Last Year
New York signaled its opposition to the designation a year ago and filed a formal notice of intent to sue in December. The state alleged that the EPA action contradicts a 2005 federal-state agreement to reduce or eliminate dredged-material disposal in the open waters of the sound.
Schneiderman said the EPA plan “is allowing huge amounts of dredged waste to be poured into yet another area of the Long Island Sound,” adding: “We won’t hesitate to act when the federal government fails to uphold its obligation to protect New Yorkers’ health and environment.”
The sound already has two dump sites, with the new designation adding a third. The state favors upland disposal sites, citing public investment in restoring and protecting the sound’s water quality.
An EPA regional spokeswoman declined to comment on the New York action.