State Representative Terry Backer, D-Stratford, was honored Monday for 25 years heading the non-profit Long Island Soundkeeper Fund. During a ceremony before about 100 people at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection offices in Hartford. Stte officials said that as Soundkeeper, Backer has inspired over 200 other autonomous water keepers across 20 countries.
“I want to thank everyone for this honor, it was quite a surprise,” Backer said in a statement. “It is unfathomable to me that this day would happen when I began advocating for the Sound 30 years ago.” Governor Dannel Malloy issued a proclamation declaring Monday, April 23, 2012 as “Terry Backer Day” in the state of Connecticut.
“Terry Backer has successfully brought to light pollution issues associated with damage to Long Island Sound’s water quality and aquatic resources through advocacy and direct legal actions that have resulted in the creation of significant habitat restoration and water quality improvements, reduction of pollution from storm water and energy security,” Malloy in his proclamation.
According to the DEEP, Backer has helped:
- Establishing no-discharge areas in Long Island Sound
- Providing free pumpouts for recreational vessels in the western portion of Long Island Sound from May through October.
- Suing to reduce the hazardous waste escaping from sewage treatment facilities in Norwalk, Bridgeport, Stratford, and Greenwich.
- Stopping irresponsible sandblasting of lead paint from watershed bridges forcing adoption of containment procedures.
- Restoring the state’s public shellfish beds. In the past six years over 3,000 acres have been restored.
Backer’s event came after the featured guest speaker at the day’s event was Terry Tamminen, who served as the Santa Monica BayKeeper, which was modeled after Backer’s SoundKeeper model.
“Terry Backer is the reason I took my passion for the environment and made a difference in California,” Tamminen said. “He was and still is an inspiration to all of us.”
Daniel Esty, commissioner of DEEP, said “Terry is very knowledgeable on a myriad of subjects and his passion resonates. He inspires others and his results speak for themselves. Connecticut has forever benefitted from Terry’s years of service and his commitment to the preservation of Long Island Sound.”