Recently Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus and founding member of the “Congressional Estuary Caucus”, was joined by EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Carrie Meek Gallagher, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Northeast Regional Director Amanda Bassow, and others, to announce 31 grants, totaling $2.04 million, that will be awarded to local governments and community groups. The grants will support projects that will continue to improve water quality, restore natural habitats, enhance living resources, and educate and involve the public in protecting and restoring the Long Island Sound.
“The Long Island Sound is a precious feature of our life, culture, and economy, one that affects the livelihoods of all Long Islanders, as well as our local recreation and tourism industries,” Congressman Zeldin said…
Wow – that sounds great!? But here is the thing:
From Marc Rauch:
Last I checked Long Island Sound was still connected to the Atlantic Ocean.
Lifetime, Zeldin has voted against measures in Congress to mitigate climate change 85% of the time, with 17 anti-env. votes on climate change and 3 pro-env. votes. See complete Zeldin Enviro voting record here and here.
Climate change has a number of deleterious effects on oceans, including warmer ocean temperatures and acidification. Long-term, the disruptive effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems will be profound and in bodies of water like Long Island Sound that are basically extensions of oceans, these adverse effects will overwhelm any benefits that can be gained from efforts to limit runoff, waste disposal, and the like. So Zeldin is touting his advocacy for applying bandaids while repeatedly voting against efforts to cure the underlying serious illness.
From David Friedman:
I see that Zeldin in his press release about the $2.04 million brags about being “a founding member of the Congressional Estuary Caucus” (whatever that is). Based on his record, he will cheerfully vote to damage any estuary outside CD1:
9/7/2017 Voted in favor of Goodlatte Amendment #50 (roll 479) to HR 3354. This amendment reduces the ability of the EPA to enforce standards of the Clean Water Act in cleaning up Chesapeake Bay. It limits EPA’s key authority to protect clean water in the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed which spans 6 states and the District of Columbia. 13 Republicans voted against this amendment.
7/13/2017 Voted in favor of H.R. 23. This is a companion bill to H.R. 1654 (see below) which bypasses environmental and other regulatory reviews for the construction of new dams in California, overrides California state law, and enacts a number of other provisions favorable to agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin valley. It weakens protections for endangered species of fish and for commercial fisheries along the West Coast in order to redistribute limited water supplies, primarily to large industrial farming operations in one area of California. It preempts California and federal laws that mandate restoration of the San Joaquin River and its native salmon runs, effectively stopping restoration. The result could be to permanently dry up this river, the second longest within California. It overturns recent court decisions protecting the Trinity river and its Salmon runs. It mandates quantified water delivery for a small set of specified agribusiness users at the expense of everybody else. It truncates the environmental review process for new dam construction. It prevents federal agencies from placing any limits on water use when issuing federal permits (if the use is recognized under state law), which would allow water users to leave streams and rivers on public land dry. This bill would destroy thousands of fishery jobs, do serious damage to the Bay-Delta estuary and possibly cause the extinction of native fish species. It is opposed by the American Sportfishing Association, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and Cal Trout. It is also opposed by the Governor of California, both California Senators, and a majority of its Congressional delegation. It is another example of Republicans’ convenient disregard of “states rights” when it comes to favoring big business interests, since it overrides California state law. And it is also an example of “picking winners and losers” in spite of the professed GOP horror of doing that.
6/22/2017 Voted in favor of H.R. 1654. This act establishes the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation as the lead agency for the purposes of coordinating all reviews, analyses, opinions, statements, permits, licenses, or other approvals or decisions required under federal law for new construction or expansions of dams, and above-ground water storage on federal land in 17 Western states. In effect it fast-tracks the construction of new dams by by-passing rules currently in effect to assess the environmental and other impacts of such dam construction. It guts the National Environmental Policy Act by limiting the “Environmental Impact Statement” (EIS) process to “1 year and 30 days”. Although this may sound reasonable on its face, this time frame is actually grossly inadequate in many cases to properly and correctly assess the impact a proposed new dam would have on a river. Proponents of the bill argue that “streamlining” the permitting process for new dams will help to create jobs and grow the economy. In reality, the high cost of building a dam, coupled with the limited available funds and permitting issues on the state level, are the primary impediments to building new dams, not federal environmental laws or delays in the federal permitting process. According to the Bureau of Reclamation, not a single dam has been denied construction because of a lack of coordination between Reclamation and other agencies or because of delays associated with environmental review and permitting. The bill is supported by down-river agricultural interests which stand to benefit from the rapid construction of new dams to facilitate mass irrigation of arid land. Downstream fisheries, obliterated by new dams and reservoirs, will pay the price. The breeding grounds of salmon and other commercially important fish will be cut off or degraded, both upstream and down, as a result of the restricted flow of water. An amendment to H.R. 1654 was introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal who represents a downstream California district. This amendment exempts any dam projects from being fast-tracked by the bill if it could harm commercial fisheries. Zeldin voted against this amendment.