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Brookhaven Town joins lawsuit against dumping in LI Sound

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, here on Cedar

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, here on Cedar Beach in Mount Sinai on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, announced the town will join in a state lawsuit to stop Long Island Sound dumping. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Brookhaven Town officials said Monday they intend to join the state’s lawsuit seeking to block a federal plan to dump dredged material in the eastern end of Long Island Sound.

State officials on Aug. 17 filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its plan to dump tens of millions of cubic yards of dredged soil in the Sound over the next 30 years. Federal officials plan to open a new dump site off Orient Point as part of the plan.

Brookhaven officials plan to ask a federal judge for permission to file a friend of the court brief in support of the state. The move, though largely symbolic, is intended to buttress opposition to the federal plan.

“This is something we are adamantly opposed to,” Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in an interview. “They’re treating the Long Island Sound like a wastebasket.”

EPA officials have declined to comment on the lawsuit. Federal officials have said the new dump site is needed for up to 53 million cubic yards of sand and silt, mostly from Connecticut waters.

State and Long Island officials fear the dump site will harm wildlife as well as commercial and recreational uses of the Sound.

“A lot of people make their living” from fishing on the Sound, Romaine said. “Who wants to go to the beach when there’s all this muck there? Do you think this is going to stay on the bottom?”

The state lawsuit also was supported by environmental protection advocates such as Kevin McAllister, president of Sag Harbor-based Defend H2O. He said dredged sand, known as spoils, should be used to replenish beaches or dumped in landfills.

Dumping spoils in the Sound “is really contrary to water quality protection,” McAllister said. “That’s not the approach we need to be taking. We need to be handling the sediments properly.”

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