LONG ISLAND SOUND STEWARDSHIP ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 127
(Senate - November 13, 2006)

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[Page S10866]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. LIEBERMAN. Mr. President, I rise to celebrate final passage of 
the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act. I am proud to have coauthored 
and introduced this bill in the Senate in April 2004. This body passed 
the bill that October, but then the bill died in the House. So we 
reintroduced it in the Senate last January, and Representative Rob 
Simmons reintroduced its House companion. The House passed its bill on 
Wednesday, and we in the Senate have just followed suit. Now the bill 
will go to the President, who is expected to sign it into law without 
delay. Today's final passage will ensure expanded protection and 
restoration of a national treasure.
  A healthy Long Island Sound is crucial to our region's economy, 
quality of life, and heritage. I am deeply gratified that Congress has 
acted to support a new way for communities and citizens to work 
together to preserve this ecologically important estuary for years to 
come. The Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, or LISSA, will help 
protect the sound by providing financial incentives for land owners 
within the sound area to preserve the environmental quality of and 
public access to this endangered habitat.
  Long Island Sound is a unique estuary with profound economic, 
ecological and cultural importance for the United States. This critical 
resource contributes approximately $6 billion annually to the economy 
of the region, and it is especially important to the tens of millions 
of people who live within 50 miles of its shores.
  We have come a long way in restoring the Sound and its rich 
biodiversity. Take, for example, the osprey--a bird that has come to 
symbolize the Sound. In 1940, there were approximately 1,000 osprey 
nests along the Sound shoreline. But by 1974, pollution reduced the 
number of osprey nests to just nine. Because of proactive conservation 
measures, the osprey has rebounded. That is real progress.
  Despite our efforts, however, the sound remains in a diminished 
condition. It suffers from hypoxia, habitat loss, and contamination by 
toxic substances, pathogens, and solid waste, all of which negatively 
affect the health of all the organisms, including humans, who live in 
or near the sound.
  I have been working to defend the sound since I arrived in the 
Senate. In 1989, I sponsored legislation that established a Long Island 
Sound office within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA's 
Long Island Sound Office went on to identify the sound region as 
vulnerable to degradation and, with my support, established the Long 
Island Sound Study to develop a plan for protecting the sound. In 2000, 
I kicked off a ``Listen to the Sound'' campaign, which focused on 
establishing a comprehensive network of open space and natural areas 
along the sound's rim, as well as creating more opportunities for 
public access and habitat restoration. More than 1,500 Connecticut and 
New York residents attended those meetings. In 2002, the EPA released 
the results of its Long Island Sound study, which concluded that 
coordinated action to save the sound was necessary.
  Building on several of the EPA study's recommendations and on 
feedback from my Listen to the Sound meetings, I introduced LISSA in 
April 2004 with Senators Dodd, Schumer, and Clinton as cosponsors.
  LISSA establishes a broad-based Long Island Sound Stewardship 
Advisory Committee comprised of all sound stakeholders, including 
Federal, State, local governments, tribal interests, nongovernmental 
organizations, academic interests, private interests including land, 
agriculture, and business interests, and recreational and commercial 
fishing interests. The advisory committee is charged with evaluating 
the parcels of land within the sound region and recommending crucial 
parcels for designation by the Environmental Protection Agency as 
Stewardship Sites eligible for special preservation funds. LISSA 
authorizes $25 million per year for fiscal years 2007 through 2011 to 
the EPA Administrator to carry out this act.
  By enacting this legislation, we aim to preserve the natural beauty 
and ecological wonder of this majestic waterway between New York and 
Connecticut. LISSA will ensure that our children and grandchildren can 
enjoy the sound's beauty, ecology, and recreational opportunities.
  In closing, I wish to acknowledge the many Long Island Sound 
advocates in Connecticut and New York who have worked so hard to 
achieve today's great success.