Plum Island Sale Moves Forward; Environmental Imact Questioned
Some Environmental advocates and federal lawmakers are holding out hope that an auction of Plum Island, the site of a former federal research facility, would include conservation restrictions. Plum Island is in New York waters 10 miles off Connecticut's coast. It boasts beaches, dunes, forests, and wetlands. For years, it was the home of an animal disease research lab which restricted human presence other than federal employees. Over time, the island became an unofficial wildlife sanctuary for many species, some endangered. The Department of Homeland Security is relocating the research facility to Kansas which prompted the U.S. General Services Administration's to propose selling the island. "Certainly all of these environmental impact statements are appealable. They are challengeable. We're certainly evaluating our options," said the group's Attorney Charles Rothenberger. In a statement, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal urged The GSA to work with the town of Southhold, New York to ensure that sensitive areas permanently remain off limit to future development. A final decision on the island will be issued after a 30-day internal review period.