This week, Congressmen Tim Bishop and Joe Courtney, along with Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urged the Obama administration use executive action to put the brakes on the the proposed public sale of Plum Island.
Lawmakers wrote a letter and said the recent adoption of new zoning for Plum Island by the Southold Town board — the new zoning would ban residential housing construction on Plum Island, should it be sold — would significantly limits the island’s potential value at auction.
Southold's zoning plan for the island calls for a 125-acre Plum Island research district, which would comprise 20 percent of the island, and a 350-acre Plum Island conservation district, that would make up the remaining 80 percent, which would be a natural preserve.
“Clearly, any revenue realized from selling Plum Island into private hands would be greatly outweighed by the loss to the American people of the island’s true value as an environmental treasure,” the elected officials wrote.
The letter requests the possibility of halting the sale through executive action.
Legislation passed by Congress in 2008 mandates the public sale of Plum Island, with the proceeds meant to partially offset the $1.2 billion cost of the proposed National Bio-and-Agro Defense Facility in Kansas.
Bishop has advocated to remove that requirement from law and permanently separate the future of Plum Island from that of the NBAF.
Bishop assured residents at a public meeting in Orient in April that the the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center would continue to operate on the island until at least 2020, and no potential sale could take place before then.
For a copy of the letter lawmakers wrote to suggest the Obama administration consider executive action, click here.