Long Island Sound Blue Plan: Transportation and Infrastructure

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Island Sound, it’s used for transporting
people, goods, and energy. The Sound’s ports
and harbors have long played a vital role in
Connecticut’s economy. EVAN MATTHEWS: Long Island
Sound is the southern border of Connecticut, so
it’s very important because all three deep water
ports and over 20 harbors stretch along Long Island Sound. And so it’s an important
maritime transportation corridor. Each port complex is
slightly different. Bridgeport has a lot
of petroleum products still come in there, but
they come in there by barge not by ship. New Haven has all of
your petroleum products. You have lumber. You have steel. It’s one of the
biggest steel terminals in all of North America. And the other
thing is road salt. And then New London
does steel, lumber, and then obviously fish. Both Bridgeport
and New London have successful privately-owned
ferry companies that have been operating
for a long time, so that’s an
important connector. Both ferries also provide
truck transportation across Long Island
Sound, because it’s so congested in the Western
end of Long Island Sound that these ferries are providing
a vital link across and around or an alternative to the
congestion of New York City. CATHERINE FINNERAN: We’re
New England’s largest energy provider. So we undertake among other
things very large-scale critical energy
infrastructure projects that are designed to ensure
safe and reliable power for Connecticut and the region. We have a couple of cables in
Long Island Sound right now that tie Connecticut to New York
and is part of our larger grid to make our system
withstand severe weather events and other challenges. The Sound is just a
tremendous natural resource for Connecticut and
the surrounding areas for Eversource our
employees, our customers. NARRATOR: Long Island
Sound is being considered for potential new uses such
as sustainable transportation and renewable energy projects. EVAN MATTHEWS: You don’t
have to widen your highways because it’s a lot cheaper
to develop a marine highway corridor with boats
and ferries than it is building a bridge or a tunnel. The environmental benefits
are great because you’re using less fuel. CATHERINE FINNERAN:
The infrastructure that would be
enabled by the Sound and potentially put in the Sound
would enable the clean energy that I think the region needs
to meet its state policy and greenhouse gas
emission reduction goals. NATHAN FROHLING: With
the new renewable energy that’s expected to go
in south and east of us, there may be cables
that transmit that. The question is where
do those cables go? How can we help them find those
locations where they’re not going to run into all this
conflict with other existing users? NARRATOR: To minimize conflicts
with the Sound’s many uses today and in the future,
Connecticut began work on a marine spatial plan. The Long Island Sound
Blue Plan includes preserving the Sound’s special
ecosystems and resources while making sure the
decision-making process is science based and inclusive
of all stakeholders. CATHERINE FINNERAN: We’ve
identified spatially in the plan different types of
uses that exist in the Sound. EVAN MATTHEWS: So if you
have a recreational use, you would want to make sure that
intensive recreational waterway is not in a major
shipping channel. CATHERINE FINNERAN: I hope
that the final outcome of this process will be a plan
that provides some transparency to Eversource as well as our
regulators in finding the best siting for these projects
in light of the existing uses in the Sound. It’s certainly not too late
to get involved in the plan. In fact, this is a
good time to make sure that people are
reviewing these drafts and weighing in
to– with the lens of their own particular sector. BRUCE BEEBE: My life is
right here on the water, and the things that
I experience or view may be valuable
to the committee. It’s our plan,
the people’s plan. So participation is the key. NARRATOR: If you would
like to share your comments and concerns about the Long
Island Sound Blue Plan, please visit our website
for more information. [MUSIC PLAYING]  

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