Aug. 14, 2012
Contact: Dan Hendrick, (212) 361-6350 ext. 206
Leadership needed at local, county, state and federal levels
LONG BEACH --- To protect the environment and the health of Long Island residents, county, state and federal leaders must immediately develop a comprehensive financing strategy to fix the region's ailing wastewater systems.
Click above to download (.pdf) a full copy of our Long Island Wastewater Action Plan.That is the conclusion of a new report by the New York League of Conservation Voters - one of the state's largest environmental organizations - which today unveiled an action plan to help guide the region's elected leaders on this important issue.
Called "Wastewater Infrastructure Investment: An Action Agenda for Long Island," NYLCV unveiled the report in Long Beach near the Bay Park Waste Water Plant, which has a long history of environmental and financial troubles. Long Beach leaders and elected officials joined NYLCV for the unveiling to express their support for action.
"Sewage contamination of our waterways and drinking-water sources is one of the biggest challenges facing Long Island," said Michael Posillico, chair of NYLCV's Long Island Chapter. "Our infrastructure has been underfunded for far too long, and the health of Long Island residents and the environment is at serious risk. Our elected leaders at the county, state and federal levels must work together and develop a comprehensive financing strategy to resolve this critical problem."
Long Beach City Council President Len Torres said: "Our local facilities desperately need to be upgraded, and it's absolutely critical that we have both federal and state support."
"Additional funding is truly key when it comes to making the necessary advances here. We need greater support from higher levels of government to repair and rebuild decaying infrastructure," said Scott J. Mandel, Long Beach City Council Vice President.
Long Beach City Council Member Fran Adelson said: "We are extremely passionate about taking care of our environment, and our waterways are important to our health and well-being. We are so happy that this report supports and validates what we're doing at the local level."
NYLCV's Long Island Wastewater Action Plan calls for four actions:
- Nassau County should immediately undertake an independent analysis of the costs of a public-private partnership taking over its wastewater management system, in order to fully understand borrowing and operating costs, as well as any impact to ratepayers.
- Create a Suffolk County Wastewater Management District, to achieve economies of scale and lessen the cost burden on individual communities that need urgent wastewater upgrades.
- Increase state support, through the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation.
- Increase federal support for infrastructure investment. The Long Island congressional delegation should advocate for a fully funded Clean Water State Revolving Fund, as well as reliable and consistent funding streams to help municipalities plan more effectively. Federal support for wastewater infrastructure has declined significantly in recent years.
The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, policy-making and political action organization that works to make environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision makers, and voters by evaluating incumbent performance and endorsing and electing environmental leaders to office in New York State.