Plum Island Preservation Act redux: Zeldin’s bill passes House again
The House of Representatives has again passed a bill to prevent the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder.
The Plum Island Preservation Act, introduced by Rep. Lee Zeldin, had the unanimous support of the Long Island and Connecticut House delegations, as well as a coalition of over 65 local and national environmental groups, Zeldin said in a press release.
To become law, the bill must also be passed in the U.S. Senate, where Zeldin’s bill, also passed by the House last year, died in the 114th Congress.
Zeldin’s bill would commission the Government Accountability Office, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, which currently “owns” the island, to formulate a comprehensive plan for the future of the island. The legislation requires the plan focus on conservation, education, and research and include alternative uses for the island including a transfer of ownership to another federal agency, the state or local government, a nonprofit, or a combination thereof, Zeldin said. The legislation would suspend laws passed in 2008 and 2011 that mandated the public sale of Plum Island by the federal government to the highest bidder.
Zeldin said protecting Plum Island has been one of his highest local priorities since taking office in 2015.
“The current law, which mandates the sale of the island to the highest bidder, is the wrong path forward,” he said.
“Preserving this island’s natural beauty, while maintaining a research mission, will continue to provide important economic and environmental benefits to Long Island. It will also ensure that the state of the art research facility at Plum Island does not go to waste,” he said.
Zeldin called on Connecticut and New York’s U.S. Senators to get the bill passed in the Senate.