Sen. Hwang Applauds Unanimous House Passage of Long Island Sound Blue Plan

April 22, 2015

Today, in a fitting moment of bipartisan legislative action on Earth Day, the Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously passed a key piece of environmental legislation, Governor’s Bill 6839.

State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), one of the leading proponents of the bill, joined colleagues and statewide environmental advocates in celebrating this positive step for such an important piece of legislation.

Known as the Blue Plan, the bill would ensure that Connecticut has a coordinated strategy for future use of Long Island Sound by requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and relevant stakeholders to study and compile an inventory of the Sound’s natural and human resources and uses. It now heads to the Senate for a vote.

“Today’s unanimous House vote – fittingly on Earth Day – sends a resounding message that Connecticut legislators understand and appreciate the environmental and economic significance of The Long Island Sound,” Sen. Hwang said. “More significantly, this legislation proves the balance that we can be business friendly and a champion for the environment at the same time. I look forward to casting my vote in support of the Blue Plan when it comes before the Senate, and I’ll be encouraging my colleagues to do the same.”

David Sutherland, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Government Relations, emphasized the bipartisan support of the legislation.

“Connecticut has a history of both political parties uniting to protect this critical environmental, recreational, and economic resource, and we are very grateful for the leadership this legislation enjoys from Democrats and Republicans,” Sutherland said. “Senator Hwang, starting with a phone call the morning after the November elections, has been tireless in his advocacy for this legislation. Representative Albis, Senator Kennedy, and Representative Craig Miner have been stalwart, not only in their support, but also in their work to improve the bill.”

“Establishing a Blue Plan for Long Island Sound is vital to its preservation and the development of job-creating commercial entities along Connecticut’s coastline,” said state Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford), co-chairman of the Environment Committee. “Our shoreline’s natural resources will be catalogued and made available, all without spending any additional state dollars. This will be a significant boost to the region, securing the coastline while also providing opportunities for the state’s growing aquaculture businesses and other industries.”

“I am glad that my colleagues recognize the great need for a responsible plan for Long Island Sound’s future. It is critically important that the state act now and arrive at a plan for protecting one of Connecticut’s most viable economic resources to ensure the stewardship of Long Island Sound,” said state Representative James Albis (D-East Haven), co-chairman of the Environment Committee. “As both the representative of a town on the Sound’s coast and the co-chair of the Environment Committee I am thrilled that this bill is one step closer to being law. I am grateful for the support from both sides of the aisle on this proposal and I look forward to a vote on the bill in the State Senate.”

“The State of Connecticut holds the submerged lands and waters of the Sound in perpetual trust for the use and benefit of the public. The new tools offered by the Blue Plan proposed in this legislation will help us better exercise our responsibilities to safeguard this resource. Action on this bill is the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day,” DEEP Commission Rob Klee said.

Once approved by the Governor, the finalized Blue Plan will be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.

State Senator Tony Hwang is in his 4th term in the Connecticut General Assembly and 1st term as State Senator of the 28th District, which encompasses Fairfield, Easton, Newtown and portions of Weston and Westport. Senator Hwang is the ranking leader in the Housing and Labor & Public Employees committees and a member of Commerce and Veterans Affairs committees during the 2015-16 legislative sessions. He is also a member of the CT Innovation Life Sciences Business/Government Group and co-chair of the bipartisan General Assembly Bioscience Caucus.