Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sound Summit Predicts a Long, Hard Effort to Clean Up the Sound

There's a good, short summary of yesterday's Long Island Sound Citizens Summit, which was in Bridgeport (I couldn't make it, unfortunately), in the Hartford Courant.

In short, the situation facing the Sound is both daunting and ongoing, sort of like the rest of our problems now. Here's the first paragraph:

In the long term, protecting Long Island Sound will take lots of money, more low-impact housing, mass transit systems, effective sewage treatment facilities and individual efforts, such as installing rain barrels to collect runoff from home roofs.

And then there's this, from Senator Christopher Dodd:

"This is not a battle that's ever permanently won," Dodd said.

The truth of what Dodd said is that it was true 10 years ago and 20 years ago and 30 years ago and on and on.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

One of the things that might work in favor of maintaining and cleaning Long Island Sound might be the very flat to negative population growth rates. Rhode Island was hit the worst but the whole area, New York to Maine, has stopped growing.

Since the "pristine" days of 1960s, coastal Connecticut and Long Island's north shore experienced exponential growth. In addition, Connecticut has many long rivers that drain large inland areas, which were getting developed as well as some kind of "suburb effect."

The problem with New York at the west end of Long Island Sound has always been an aging infrastructure. I am not sure if greater New York City is growing or not, but it is (1) very old and (2) toxics and nutrients have leached into the underground, providing an ample reservoir of pollution for that area of the Sound.

During times of growth is the best time to implement new technology such as for waste and storm water, as well as over-land flow from rain events. However with stable or shrinking populations, that becomes less easy to fund, meaning taxes must go up. When taxes go up, many property owners find that a disincentive and might leave - such as to move to Texas.

Lastly, there are "eco-migrants" who get tired of the high expenses for home heating in the winter. Since New York is no longer the financial hub of the US, many seem free to relocate to where they can get more land and pay less taxes - and not have to deal with all the snow and ice. Eco-migration is becoming a very hot topic lately and will be so as the effects of Climate Change continue. One of the largest eco-migrations occurred after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

I was interested in the idea for rainwater collection systems - do you agree with that Tom, as a partial solution?
-sam

2:02 PM  
Blogger matthew houskeeper said...

Sam,
Much of the growth you refer to started during the post war boom of the late 1940s and 1950s. In many ways that period was worse. Every town and harbor dumped raw sewage into the water. Nearly every factory dumped their chemical waste in the water as well. And that includes all the rivers too.
Also, I am not sure what you mean by stating that New York is no longer the financial capital of the US. Has it been overtaken by Dallas? Houston? Midland????

11:29 AM  

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