Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Broadwater Foes Should Pay Attention to the Sound's Other Problem As Well

Greg Stone, the deputy editorial page editor of the New London Day, has his priorities straight: Save some of the anti-Broadwater fervor for a more important problem -- hypoxia:

Gov. M. Jodi Rell, who had DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy read her protests against the [Broadwater] project into the record during the hearing at Mitchell College, ought to make a similarly fiery and colorful speech before the legislature, urging passage of legislation that would bring to an end the drought in state funding for improvements to sewage-treatment plants along the state's shoreline. The combined malfunctions and inadequacies of those plants are contributing to an environmental crisis that vastly overshadows the worst-case scenario from the LNG operation....

The causes of this phenomenon, hypoxia or oxygen depletion, are related to the forces that have brought us Broadwater. They stem from development. The growth of population, business and industry over the years has driven up demand for energy to power cars, heat homes, support industrial processes and administer to the growing array of human activities that consume fossil fuel.

This same development, concentrated along the Connecticut and New York shorelines and at the confluence of waters that empty into Long Island Sound from the New York metropolitan areas, has produced the conditions for an environmental disaster in Long Island Sound....

The Broadwater controversy performed the valuable function of bringing together government and environmental advocates and capturing the public's attention to a threat to Long Island Sound. It would be doubly beneficial if the same concerned and aroused constituency made as much noise and rallied around an initiative taking shape this year to restore government funds for improvements to sewage treatment plants, reduce nitrogen loads going into the Sound from stormwater runoff and preserve what open space is left along the Connecticut shoreline.

The governor, her DEP commissioner, the legislators and towns so visibly infuriated over Broadwater's plans should be similarly exercised over the fact that state money needed to prevent sewage overflows from treatment plants and arrest nitrogen discharges has dried up in the state government.

Read it all, here.



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