Weekly Update: Keeping Promises

If we are to secure a safe, sustainable future, it is time that state climate policies match the urgency of our situation.

Time to Keep Connecticut’s Climate Promise

Connecticut promised to cut climate pollution and protect our future, but the state is not on track to meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Considering the report issued Monday by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we cannot wait any longer to strengthen the state’s climate law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, to reflect the urgency of the climate crisis, ensure accountability, and put Connecticut back on the path to fulfilling its commitments. It’s time to make the homes we live in greener and more efficient, and our communities more resilient. It’s time for cleaner transportation options. And it’s time to ensure overburdened neighborhoods have the tools they need to stand up to polluters. 

That’s why we’ve joined with other environmental advocates, health experts, labor and municipal representatives, and more to form the CT Coalition for Climate Action. Join us in calling on Connecticut lawmakers to pass meaningful legislation this year and Keep CT’s Climate Promise

This week is extra-special, and you’re the first to hear: In recognition of the efforts needed to combat climate change and its effects, so that a safe and sustainable future can be had by Connecticut residents, Gov. Lamont has declared March 22 through March 29 “Climate Action Week” in the State of Connecticut. 

To celebrate, Save the Sound and the CT Coalition for Climate Action will hold a social media action day later this week (stay tuned for details), a webinar on current legislative efforts March 29 (register here), and a display of posters articulating the need for climate action, clean water, and environmental justice in the cafeteria of the Legislative Office Building March 16-30. 

Learn more about the campaign at www.ClimateActionCT.org, and join us in demanding our legislators Keep CT’s Climate Promise. Speak up for a clean and healthy future!  

NYS Senate and Assembly release “one-house” budgets 

Little is yet certain about the New York State budget for 2024. But one thing is clear: Increased environmental funding has broad support. 

In their respective one-house budgets released last week, the Senate proposed raising the funding for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to $500 million, well above the $400 million Governor Kathy Hochul proposed in her executive budget, and the Assembly proposed $435 million. Both chambers also rejected the attachment of “offloads,” which would have allowed operating costs to be taken out of the EPF funding (that money has been designated for programs and projects since the EPF was enacted in 1993). 

The Senate and the Assembly agreed that funding for the Clean Water Infrastructure Act should be raised to $600 million ($100m more than the Governor’s plan). There also are many places where everyone is aligned—providing $90m in capital funding to the Department of Environmental Conservation and increasing that agency’s staffing. 

However the final budget shapes up after 11 days of whirlwind negotiations, we feel confident it will reflect that increased environmental funding is a priority in Albany.  

The public comment period during which area residents can share their thoughts about a plan to build yacht storage facilities on Mattituck Creek is expected to open Wednesday, March 22.

Mattituck Creek faces development; community fights back

A developer’s plan to build a pair of gigantic yacht storage buildings on the banks of Mattituck Creek on Long Island’s North Fork moved forward last week when the Town of Southold Planning Board voted to accept the project’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for public review. As of March 22, concerned parties like  Save the Sound, local group Save Mattituck Inlet, and area residents can now respond with written comments and at a May 15 public hearing at Southold Town Hall.   

The project would construct two massive structures with footprints of more than an acre each at Strong’s Yacht Center’s existing facility. This expansion would require clear-cutting 630 mature trees and removing 134,000 cubic yards of sand from a steep slope above the creek, leading some to call it a sand mining operation. The property adjoins Mattituck Creek, which hosts water-dependent commercial uses and a federal navigational channel and is also a New York State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat. The project site is contiguous with a 27-acre public nature preserve that includes an extension of the same coastal oak–beech forest and old-field shrubland/grassland habitats. The developer’s own consultants have identified the forest as potential breeding habitat for the Northern long-eared bat, recently designated an endangered species. Watch a recent presentation by Save Mattituck Inlet and Louise Harrison, our Long Island natural areas manager, to learn more.

Celebrate World Water Day on Wednesday

The theme for UN World Water Day 2023 is “Accelerating Change.” To mark this annual event, our team is joining this Wednesday with leading change agents for clean water priorities. 

Our Long Island Soundkeeper, Bill Lucey, will be in Washington, D.C., attending a board meeting with Restore America’s Estuaries. Visits to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators and staff may also be on the agenda. 

Our regional program leaders will be participating in events in New York City. David Ansel, our regional director of water protection, will join the Waterkeeper Alliance at an event at the United Nations, site of the 2023 UN World Water Conference—the first event of its kind in almost 50 years. Laura Wildman, our regional director of ecological restoration, will participate in an off-site panel discussion, “Removing Dams, Restoring Rivers,” at The Nature Hub. And you can join in! Watch Laura and other expert panelists at 11:00 a.m. live on YouTube—more info here

Learn how you can help make change in your life and your community.

Spend your summer with Save the Sound

The weather is warming and it’s time to start thinking about your summer plans! Save the Sound has posted six open seasonal and intern positions with our clean water, cleanup, and fisheries teams. Full-time and part-time positions are located in New York and Connecticut, and most are paid. Get all the details on our Jobs page

Join Save the Sound to defend your regional environment

When you take a breath of clean air or jump into clear waters, you’re enjoying the results of hard-won environmental victories. Save the Sound has been protecting your land, air, and water for 50 years. But our work is nowhere near done. Will you join us today in stepping alongside more than 4,000 environmental warriors leading bold climate action, protecting and restoring Long Island Sound, and creating lasting environmental impact in your own backyard? Our supporters have helped to protect 15,000 acres of land in Connecticut from development; restore 135 acres of wetland habitat at Sunken Meadow State Park, NY; track down dozens of sewage leaks and stop millions of gallons of untreated sewage from making it into the waters you use for swimming, fishing, and sailing; along with so many other things! Join Save the Sound today to drive concrete change. 

Upcoming Events

  • Bronx River watershed plan public input meeting, March 23 at 5:30-7:30 p.m., The Bronx, NY. Our Katie Friedman will present at this Bronx River Alliance session to gather input on climate resiliency from Bronx residents; stay tuned for future events upriver. Get the details.
  • CT Land Conservation Council’s annual conference, March 25, Middletown, CT. The largest land conservation gathering in CT offers workshops, a keynote on “Green Angst” by Dr. Anne-Sophie Pagé, a panel including our environmental justice specialist Alex Rodriguez, and networking! Register.
  • Youth Eco Advocacy Corps monthly meeting, March 27 at 6:00 p.m., webinar. Join our monthly opportunity for youth activists to share their sustainability initiatives and learn what our team is doing to promote climate action and environmental justice. Register.
  • Arts and Policy Salon: Acting on Climate Change, March 28 at 7:00 p.m., Middletown, CT and online. Artists help us imagine possible futures. How can they effect actual change? A panel including our Environmental Justice Specialist Alex Rodriguez considers that question.
  • CT Coalition for Climate Action Mid-Session Update, March 29 at 6:00 p.m., webinar. In celebration of Climate Action Week, Save the Sound and fellow coalition members will update activists like you on where critical bills stand and how to get them past the finish line. Register.
  • A Plan for Reducing Stormwater Pollution: What Norwalk Can Do to Help Keep its Rivers and the Harbor Clean, March 29 at 6:30 p.m., Norwalk, CT. Stormwater pollution is the #1 threat to water quality in Connecticut; learn about potential solutions as our Soundkeeper Bill Lucey presents. Details and registration
  • 2023 Long Island Sound Summit: Funding and Strategies for Tackling Local Water Pollution, March 30, Port Jefferson, NY. Check out the lineup of speakers and roundtable facilitators confirmed for this in-person summit hosted by the Long Island Sound Coastal Watershed Network.

Photo of the Week

Spring arrived today at 5:24 p.m. Send us your favorite photos of Spring on the Sound at info@savethesound.org, and we’ll share some of them over the next few weeks. Happy Spring! 

Lighthouse Point Park
New Haven, CT

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