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Bills introduced in Washington to protect Long Island Sound

People gather at at West Meadow Beach in

People gather at at West Meadow Beach in Setauket to watch the sun set over Long Island Sound on Saturday, June, 18, 2016. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Legislation to provide a combined $65 million per year to protect Long Island Sound water quality and restore the shoreline has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.

The Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act would fund two programs at $40 million and $25 million per year through 2020, Congressional staffers said.

Previous funding for the Restoration Act and Stewardship Act expired in 2011. Money in the new bill would go toward cleanup, water quality, shoreline preservation and other critical environmental and conservation needs of the Sound, according to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office.

Similar legislation has failed to pass Congress before, most recently in 2016.

The bill was introduced in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) It was introduced in the Senate on Tuesday by New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer and Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, all Democrats.

“These authorization levels would help protect the long-term health of the Sound and help promote economic development in the area,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

Schumer said in a statement: “This legislation will make sure we have the federal funds necessary to help restore and protect the beaches and waters in and around the Long Island Sound for current and future generations.”

In 1985, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, in agreement with New York and Connecticut, created an office called the Long Island Sound Study to address water quality issues in the Long Island Sound and wetlands.

In 1990, the Long Island Sound Improvement Act passed providing federal dollars to advance Sound cleanup projects, including wastewater treatment improvements.

In 2006, Congress passed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, which provided federal dollars for projects to restore the coastal habitat to help revitalize the wildlife population and coastal wetlands and plant life.

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