Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound | Michael Rega/Shutterstock

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday challenging its decision to allow dredging sediments to be dumped into the Long Island Sound.

In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, Schneiderman asked the court to block the newly designated dumping site because the EPA’s actions were “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

The lawsuit claims that the EPA didn’t adequately prove the need for a new dumping ground—the third in the Long Island Sound—and didn’t consider using existing sites. The state also claims that the EPA didn’t consider the health or environmental impact of the proposed dumping.

In a statement, Cuomo said that the EPA’s decision to designate a permanent open water disposal site in eastern Long Island Sound poses a “major threat to a significant commercial and recreational resource, but it also undermines New York’s long-standing efforts to end dumping in our treasured waters.”

The Democratic governor in December announced plans to sue the EPA over the disposal site, arguing that it is a “direct violation of the designation criteria outlined” in the federal Ocean Dumping Act.

A spokesman for the EPA said the agency “does not comment on potential or ongoing litigation.”

Related Stories (Click headline below to access link)

Southold Town Board OKs legal action to block federal dredge dumping plan Southoldlocal.com By Denise Civiletti,  

Southold will seek to join the state’s lawsuit seeking to block federal Environmental Protection Agency rules allowing dredge spoil dumping in the Long Island Sound. If the town can’t join that suit, it will file a suit of its own, according to a resolution approved by the town board this week.

Councilman Bob Ghosio requested the move and thanked board members for supporting it.

“I felt it was imperative for us to get involved and posssibly attach ourselves to the lawsuit that New York State filed,” Ghosio said, “and I’m glad we decided even if we can’t do that we’ll still do something.”

Noting that the EPA’s dredge dumping plan has been “described as a bone-headed idea,” Russell stressed the dredge spoil is from “nine separate private dredging operations — not a public project.”

Southold Town joins state in lawsuit against EPA
Suffolktimes.timesreview by Rachel Siford 09/06/2017 4:16 PM 

The Town of Southold is joining the lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency for dumping dredged materials in Long Island Sound.

The suit was originally filed by New York State on Aug. 17. The EPA’s site designation violates both the Ocean Dumping Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act, according to a press release. Dredged materials from Connecticut have been disposed of in Long Island Sound for at least 10 years now.

There are two dumping sites due north of Southold: one just north of Greenport and another west of Fishers Island.

“Allowing dumping of potentially contaminated dredge spoils in the Sound just flies in the face of common sense,” said Town Councilman Bob Ghosio. “The fact that these dump sites are just off the environmentally sensitive shores of Southold Town is especially troubling.”

The EPA said in 2016 it would dump dredged materials into the eastern Sound, but local environmentalists have been speaking out against this because the materials could potentially be harmful to the environment.

“The town board’s unanimous support of joining the state’s lawsuit against the EPA will ensure that our interests are represented and hopefully stop this ill-conceived plans,” Mr. Ghosio said.

N.Y. State files suit against EPA over dredge spoil dumping in L.I. Sound
riverheadlocal.com, By Denise Civiletti, Aug 18, 2017

“The protections of the federal Ocean Dumping Act were extended to the L.I. Sound in 1980. The sound was designated an estuary of national significance in 1988.” ~ riverheadlocal.com

Connecticut leaders oppose N.Y. lawsuit to block dredging site in eastern Long Island Sound
The Day, By Deborah Straszheim, August 18,
2017
“Dredging is a practice that has been used for decades to keep harbors and rivers open for shipping. The silt and material pulled up from area waterways is so voluminous, it can’t all be deposited on land, so some is disposed of in open water in the Sound.” ~ The Day

New York files suit against EPA over Long Island Sound dumping plan
SuffolkTimes.Timesreview.com by Rachel Siford, August 28, 2017
“We’re very encouraged by the lawsuit,” said Aaron Virgin, vice president of Group for the East End. “We think it’s a travesty that they would take dredged material that could have potentially hazardous material in it and dump it off our shore.”

Environmentalists have spoken out against this because the dredged materials from Connecticut could be toxic and the effects on the environment are unknown and potentially dangerous. The two North Fork sites are Cornfield Shoals, just north of Greenport, and another near New London, Conn., west of Fishers Island.

“It’s an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen,” Mr. Virgin said. “Once you start spreading that stuff around, there’s no telling where it’s going to end up.”