We recently asked our honoree, Senator Jim Gaughran, about his life on Long Island and his views on the environment. Tickets for this annual fundraiser, Ports of Call can be purchased here.
Senator, what are some of your first memories of Long Island Sound? How old were you?
Some of my first memories of the Long Island Sound involve my childhood spent enjoying the beautiful beaches in Centerport and Northport. I created many great memories of swimming, picnics on the beach, and warm summer days spent with family. These experiences influenced my love, appreciation, and deep admiration for the natural beauties of our world.
When and why did you first become interested in environmental causes?
As a kid growing up on Long Island my parents bought one of the first major new subdivisions being built. Growing up there were ponds, fields, ice skating, you name it. We spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors and nature. Slowly one development after another came up, and the ponds and fields and farmland we had enjoyed growing up slowly disappeared and were replaced by houses. This made me acutely aware of the challenges facing our region and the need to champion environmental causes.
What would you encourage Long Islanders to do / think about to improve local water quality?
I would encourage Long Islanders to continue supporting upgrades to sewage treatment systems that our outdated and lack the safest, modern technology. I would also encourage Long islanders to connect cesspools to existing treatment plants, and where they cannot connect to treatment plants, to connect to other individual treatment systems. I'm a strong supporter of natural methods such as rain gardens and oyster gardening which help improve local water quality. We need to advocate for funding from the federal government to comprehensively address the challenges facing water quality on Long Island.
Is there one piece of environmental legislation of which you are most proud?
My legislation to close loopholes in the statute of limitations, which will hopefully be signed by Governor Cuomo, will be a tremendous help to public water authorities. This bill will ensure corporate polluters cannot evade their financial responsibility to clean up the pollution they've caused. This will ensure polluters, not ratepayers, pay for the cost of removing contaminants like 1,4-dioxane from our water.
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Written by staff, volunteers, and trustees of the Museum!