Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Only Two Years Late, But Connecticut Legislators Approve Clean Water Fund Money Yet Again

When Connecticut legislators approved $110 million for the Clean Water Fund in September (as part of a much larger bonding package), Governor Rell vetoed it. Yesterday the General Assembly approved $90 million for the Clean Water Fund.

Leah Schmalz, in a statement from Save the Sound, says it’s a great accomplishment and a great day for the Sound (although apparently not as great a day as it was in September, when Save the Sound CFE declared it the greatest day in the history of Long Island Sound).

Here’s part of the statement that Save the Sound/CFE sent out in her name:

“Connecticut is beginning to rebuild its clean water legacy,” said Leah Schmalz, director of legislative and legal affairs for Save the Sound, a program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. “Our leaders are to be congratulated for working to resuscitate the state’s clean water investments. This $90 million general obligation bond allotment keeps alive a vision of clean rivers, safe waters and a healthy Long Island Sound.”

The federal government and the state of Connecticut set two critical goals when it promised the state’s citizens clean and healthy water. The agreement was to stop raw sewage overflows into rivers and Long Island Sound by 2020 and to restore the low-oxygen Dead Zone in Long Island Sound by 2014. To meet these goals our municipalities need a fully functioning Clean Water Fund – the primary mechanism for funding wastewater treatment and sewer projects in Connecticut.

“While $90 million in general obligation bonds over the next year is not enough to complete all of the state's clean water projects, it is a significant influx that should put Connecticut’s goal to restore Long Island Sound’s “Dead Zone” back on track,” said Schmalz. “Due to the lack of state investment in recent years, we must invest even more in coming years to fully stop the annual release of 2 billion gallons of sewage overflow. We look forward to working with our elected officials and individual towns to ensure that Clean Water Fund financing is adequate to meet these basic clean water and human health objectives.”

“This $90 million investment is the highest general obligation funding level to date; it is not only an investment in the water quality of Long Island Sound, it is an investment in our future,” Schmalz said.

The funding is two years’ late, and there’s no word that I know of about whether Rell will sign it, but if it survives Connecticut will finally go back to meeting its obligations.



Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker