Rep. Zeldin Statement on Judge’s Decision Allowing Lawsuit to Preserve Plum Island to Continue
PATCHOGUE, N.Y. - Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) issued the following statement after Judge Denis Hurley, of the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip, rejected a motion from both the Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them in July 2016 by Save the Sound and other environmental advocates regarding the planned sale of Plum Island:
“Plum Island is beloved by our local community with 90% of the land sheltered from development. Plum Island offers Long Island a diverse wildlife and ecosystem and a critical habitat for migratory birds, marine mammals, and rare plants. Plum Island is also an essential cultural and historical resource as well, with recorded history dating back to the 1700s. The current law, which mandates the sale of the island to the highest bidder, is the wrong path forward, because it does not provide for public access and permanent preservation of the island, or the continued use of the research infrastructure. The state of the art research facility at Plum Island must not go to waste, and preserving this island’s natural beauty while maintaining a research mission will continue to provide important economic and environmental benefits to Long Island. I applaud Judge Jurley’s decision to allow the lawsuit to preserve Plum Island to continue forward.”
In July 2017, the House of Representatives passed Congressman Zeldin’s legislation, the Plum Island Preservation Act (H.R. 2182), which will 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. This 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. Allowing for continued research, public access and permanent preservation of the island, Congressman Zeldin’s bill, H.R. 2182, will suspend laws passed in 2008 and 2011 that mandated the public sale of Plum Island by the federal government to the highest bidder.