Two additional public hearings, including one in Riverhead, have been scheduled on federal plans concerning the disposal of dredged materials in the Long Island Sound.
The Riverhead hearing will be held on at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Hotel Indigo, 1830 West Main Street.
The Army Corps of Engineers released the Long Island Sound Draft Dredged Material Management Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for public review and comment on Aug. 17, one week before the the originally scheduled public hearings.
The short lead time, as well as the length of a comment period that was originally set to end on Sept. 18 drew fire from local elected officials and environmental advocates.
In response to the outcry, the Army Corps extended the deadline for written comments to Oct. 18. In a press release dated Sept. 3 and posted on its website, the federal agency has now announced the two additional public hearings, one in Riverhead on Wednesday and a second in New Haven, Connecticut next Thursday. Both start at 6 p.m. Registration of speakers begins at 5:30 p.m.
The plan examines the need for dredging, past dredging history and dredged material placement, and current alternatives to open water disposal.
There are four remaining open water disposal sites in the Sound — prior to the 1980s there had been another 22 open water disposal sites in the Sound — and they are currently scheduled to be closed next year. The Army Corps says it expects the EPA to revisit the rule requiring closure rule with respect to at least two of those sites after completion of the final dredged materials management plan.
Elected officials and environmental advocates are uniformly opposed to the continuation of open water dumping in the Sound, a federally designated Estuary of National Significance and the recipient of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state funds aimed at restoring marine health.
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