Rep. Zeldin’s Bipartisan Amendment to Restrict Sale of Plum Island Passes House, Included in FY 2021 Financial Services Appropriations Bill | Congressman Lee Zeldin

Rep. Zeldin’s Bipartisan Amendment to Restrict Sale of Plum Island Passes House, Included in FY 2021 Financial Services Appropriations Bill

July 30, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today. Representative Lee Zeldin’s (R, NY-1) amendment, which was cosponsored by Joe Courtney (D, CT-2), Peter King (R, NY-2), Tom Suozzi (D, NY-3), Kathleen Rice (D, NY-3), Eliot Engel (D, NY-17) and Jim Langevin (D-RI,2), to prohibit the General Services Administration (GSA) from using any of its operational funding to process or complete a sale of Plum Island, New York, was adopted by the House unanimously and is now included in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

Congressman Zeldin made the following remarks on the House floor ahead of adoption of his amendment: 

“Thank you, Ranking Member. I rise today in support of my bipartisan amendment to halt the sale and marketing of Plum Island, New York, by the General Services Administration. 

“Situated at the gateway of the Long Island Sound, Plum Island is treasured by our local community in both New York and Connecticut.

“Since World War II, Plum Island has been utilized as a research laboratory.

“In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security, which currently has jurisdiction over the island, announced that the Animal Disease Center would be moved to a new federal facility in Kansas.

“To offset the cost of this relocation, a law was enacted in 2008 that called for the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder. 

“However, according to a DHS report issued in April 2016, the new site in Kansas is already fully paid for through a combination of federal appropriations and funding from the State of Kansas.

“The current law is the wrong path forward. The better way is to provide for public access, permanent preservation of Plum Island, and continued use of the state of the art research infrastructure.

“That is why I’ve been working with my colleague from Connecticut, Congressman Joe Courtney, and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from both sides of Long Island Sound to repeal this flawed mandate. 

“I urge all my colleagues to support this bipartisan amendment.”

In 2008, Congress created a new law to mandate the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder. Since coming to Congress, Congressman Zeldin has secured House passage of 5 of his proposals to preserve Plum Island as a world-renowned research facility, historical site and conservation area, and secured $1.5 million in federal funds last summer to stabilize and restore its iconic lighthouse. 

Last year, Congressman Zeldin authored and secured enactment of legislative language to halt the sale of the island for Fiscal Year 2020. Additionally, this Congress, he introduced the Plum Island Preservation Act of 2019, which would permanently repeal the law mandating the sale of Plum Island and require any further use of the island be for conservation, education and/or research purposes.