Federal court accepts Connecticut groups' involvement in Long Island Sound dredging suit

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A federal court in New York has accepted a request by several shoreline government and industry groups to file a joint brief in a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, supporting the EPA's opening of a 1.3-square-mile area in the eastern Long Island Sound as a site for disposing of silt dredged from waterways near the Sound.

New York State officials have argued that introducing a new dredging disposal site in the Sound near New London would harm the Sound's ecosystem, introduce contaminants into the food chain of animals like lobsters and interfere with the flow of ferry traffic between New York and New England. Last summer, New York filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking to overturn the EPA decision creating the new site on those grounds. The state has not objected to the creation of two other sites in the western and central parts of the Sound.

Members of Connecticut's Congressional delegation, local officials and leaders at Electric Boat and the Connecticut Port Authority have argued that having access to the eastern dredging disposal site is crucial to affordably keeping the waterways near the Sound free from sediment buildup that could impede submarine movement and shipping traffic.

On April 2 an attorney representing that group, along with the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Cross Sound Ferry Services and three regional councils of government, submitted a letter outlining its intent to submit a brief supporting the EPA and DEEP in the suit. The request was approved by the court this week, according to a news release from the Port Authority.

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