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Environmentalists Applaud Water Quality Funding

FEBRUARY 2, 2017 - Environmental and civic leaders from across Long Island are applauding multi-billion dollar funding proposals to improve water quality.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is advancing a $2 billion Water Quality Infrastructure Plan and New York State Senators Kemp Hannon and Thomas O’Mara and Assemblyman Steven Englebright have proposed a $5 billion statewide Water Quality Bond Act.

The news comes as Long Island environmental leaders are advancing plans to reverse declining water quality caused by nitrogen from wastewater and fertilizer seeping into drinking water and surface water across the Island.

“There is now bi-partisan agreement that immediate and significant action is necessary to reverse contamination of Long Island’s underground aquifers which pollute the water we drink and our surface waters” said Richard Amper, Executive Director of the Long island Pine Barrens Society.  “This increasingly results in fish die-offs and the closing of shellfish beds and beaches due to harmful algae blooms,” he added.

“These statewide initiatives complement East End programs to improve water quality, recently approved by voters through extension and expansion of the successful Community Preservation Fund,” said Robert DeLuca, President of the Group for the East End.  The CPF vote was 80 percent in favor across the five East End towns.”

Kevin McDonald, Conservation Project Director for The Nature Conservancy praised the bi-partisan approach to water quality improvement.  “Our state leaders recognize that we have a big problem in need of a big funding solution.  Both proposals reinforce Long Island’s regional plan aimed at replacing aging and polluting wastewater treatment systems, while also protecting our drinking source waters, which is key to securing clean water for our communities.”

And Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment added her support to the two initiatives.  “These proposals advance the critical need for fixing our inadequate failing sewage infrastructure. Now our clean water future depends on our elected leaders reaching a consensus so we can move these important proposals forward.”

All of the environmental leaders are members of the Long Island Clean Water Partnership which boasts more than 100 organizational members and more than 17,000 individual members.  Conservation groups look forward to discussing the many details that must be worked out with all of these proposals to make this important funding a reality as part of the state budget.

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