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Rep. Zeldin Announces Important Federal Funding for Long Island Sound and National Estuary Programs Added to Funding Bill

July 24, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus and a founding member of the bipartisan Congressional Estuary Caucus, announced today that important federal funding was added for both the Long Island Sound Program and National Estuary Program in the Department of Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY 2018 at $8 million and $26.7 million, respectively. The deadline to fund the government for FY 2018 is September 30, 2017. 

This year, Congressman Zeldin worked to secure an increase of funding for the Long Island Sound Program. In the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 244) to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017, the Long Island Sound Program was funded at $8 million, an increase of $4 million in funding from the previous year, and the National Estuary Program was funded at $26.7 million.

Since the beginning of this year, Congressman Zeldin has been calling for full support of the Long Island Sound Program and National Estuary Program to ensure both are fully funded in the appropriations process; and not eliminated. In March 2017, Congressman Zeldin hosted a press conference in Mattituck, where he was joined by local elected officials and environmental advocates, calling for full support of the Long Island Sound Program and National Estuary Program. Read more here. Congressman Zeldin, along with U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging him to oppose cuts to the Long Island Sound program, which you can read here. The Congressman also signed a bipartisan appropriations request for full funding for each of the 28 National Estuaries in the United States. Read more here.  

Congressman Zeldin said, “The Long Island Sound is a precious feature of our life, culture and economy, which affects the livelihood of thousands of Long Islanders, as well as our local recreation and tourism industries. Protecting this critical waterway, which has suffered over the years from pollution, overdevelopment and other negative impacts, has always been one of my highest priorities in Congress. The Long Island Sound Program, which is dedicated to water quality and wetlands restoration, as well as other local conservation projects to restore local beaches and protect wildlife, is such an important program. The program’s funding is prioritized to address urgent and challenging issues that threaten the ecological and economic well-being of coastal areas including nitrogen, harmful algae blooms, and flooding or wetland loss. Additionally, the National Estuary Program is another important Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wetlands protection program that was established by the Clean Water Act. This National Estuary Program provides important local grants for 28 estuaries in the United States that the EPA has recognized to be of ‘national significance’ due to their threatened status from pollution and overdevelopment. On Long Island’s East End, there are two estuaries: the Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay. The National Estuary Program is the primary funding source for the Peconic Estuary Program. Both the Long Island Sound Program and National Estuary Program must be protected; securing the funding needed to maintain these programs is a major win for our local waterways, and I look forward to this bill’s passage in the House. There is much we can do to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound and Peconic Estuary, and I will continue working in Congress on a bipartisan basis to ensure our waterways are preserved for generations to come.”

Earlier this year, in May 2017, the President submitted his budget request to Congress. The President’s request is just that: a request. It has no force of law or legislation. All funding for government agencies is initiated by Congress through the appropriations process. Since taking office in 2015, Congressman Zeldin has always worked across the aisle to ensure that necessary funds are provided where they are needed most in the First Congressional District.