April 4, 2012
BIPARTISAN LAWMAKERS FORM LONG ISLAND SOUND CAUCUS
A 12-member, bipartisan group of Connecticut state legislators have teamed up to form the steering committee for the new Long Island Sound caucus that will address environmental, energy and economic issues impacting the Sound. The steering committee is comprised of six representatives and six senators. Caucus membership will be open to all legislators.
The legislators forming the LIS caucus steering committee are:
State Representatives Lonnie Reed (D) (steering committee co-chair)
State Representative Vincent Candelora (R) (steering committee co-chair)
State Representative Patricia Widlitz (D)
State Representative Elissa Wright (D)
State Representative Clark Chapin (R)
State Representative Marilyn Giuliano (R)
State Senator Andrew Maynard (D) (steering committee co-chair)
State Senator Edward Meyer (D)
State Senator Len Fasano (R) (steering committee co-chair)
State Senator Scott Frantz (R)
State Senator John McKinney (R)
State Senator Eileen Daily (D)
The original 12 members of the caucus represent shoreline communities; others have worked in the past with New York to defeat the Broadwater floating Liquid Natural Gas plant proposed for Long Island Sound. The Broadwater issue will serve as a model for future caucus efforts to address regional differences, solve regional problems and meet regional needs.
Goals of the caucus include:
Some examples of pending legislation during the current legislative session include:
"The Long Island Sound caucus will help unify and connect environmental and economic policy in a way we have never done before in Connecticut," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. "The Sound is under constant threat—pollution, sewage, and storm water runoff are damaging the ecosystem and the economy. Connecticut has responded by investing in the Clean Water Fund, but we cannot do this alone. It will take a regional effort to clean up the Sound and protect it for generations to come."
"As a treasured natural resource and a $10 billion a year economic engine for recreational and navigational commerce, Long Island Sound needs our constant and educated attention. This bipartisan LIS Caucus intends to pursue that goal and I am delighted and encouraged to be a part of it, said Rep. Reed. "One of my key objectives is to reinvigorate our bi-state cooperation with New York on economic, environmental and energy issues that impact the sound we both share and treasure."
"This is an exciting opportunity to tackle the many issues of importance regarding the Long Island Sound. We don't need legislation to reach out and partner with legislators from New York - let's just do it! The Sound is our shared natural resource with recreational and economic benefit to our constituents," said Rep. Widlitz. "We have worked together to defeat harmful proposals such as Broadwater. Now we will focus on pro-active policy initiatives that are beneficial to both business and the environment."
"Long Island Sound is undoubtedly Connecticut's most important natural resource. Through history, it has defined our state and its economy, and it still does so today. The formation of this bipartisan Caucus will facilitate better solutions to the wide variety of environmental and economic issues the Sounds presents. This is good news for the Sound and all the people who live, work and play along the shore. I am honored to have been chosen as Senate Co-Chair, alongside Senator Fasano," said Senator Maynard (D-Stonington).
"Living along the shoreline means living with the reality that storm damage is real and already impacting our coast. We must act now to protect property and preserve our beaches from rising sea levels and severe storms," said state Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford). "Tropical Storm Irene took a heavy toll on Shoreline residents last year. With the formation of this Long Island Sound caucus, we are taking steps to address climate change and better prepare for future storms."
Senate Minority Leader Pro-Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) said, "Tropical Storm Irene has emphasized the need for Connecticut to pay close attention to the needs of those who live and work on Long Island Sound. I am working right now to enhance our statutes concerning the shoreline and will push to clarify language that allows people to protect their business and home with a seawall if necessary. I want to make sure we help residents move forward in a way that protects their ownership rights as private property owners."
"Long Island Sound contributes over $8.5 billion annually to the economy, both in recreational and commercial actiivities," said Rep. Candelora. "This legislative steering committee is a long overdue to educate and facilitate in advancing economic policies affecting Long Island Sound."
"I am proud to be part of this bipartisan group focused on protecting the waters, wildlife and economy of our home state," said Senator Frantz. "Along the shoreline, we all depend on Long Island Sound for natural resources, transportation and recreation, and we must work together to solve current and future challenges. It is my hope that we can achieve our goals so that future generations can continue to enjoy this beautiful resource."
"It has always been clear to me that our generation is responsible for preservation of the Sound as an aesthetic treasure, an environmental obligation, and as a key component of a regional economic powerhouse," Senator Eileen M. Daily (D-Westbrook) said. "Our vision for this caucus is that of a clearinghouse for ideas and accurate information about Long Island Sound as part of that responsibility for its long term vitality and the comprehensive economy dependent upon its good health."
Next steps for the LIS caucus include: