OYSTER BAY - State and local environmental leaders met with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) today to discuss proposed legislation aimed at extending federal funding for the Long Island Sound.

Israel and Gillibrand have written a bill that would provide $65 million a year for restoration and stewardship of the Sound through 2016 - funding that expired at the end of 2011.

"The Long Island Sound is a $9 billion economic engine," Israel says. "When you don't maintain the engine, the engine sputters. When the engine sputters, you lose jobs."

Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for Environment, says the funding is needed to protect local beaches and bays, and by extension, Long Islanders' health, quality of life and jobs.

Gillibrand says the legislation has bipartisan support, and she hopes they can get it passed by the end of the year.