WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, led U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), in filing an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to protect the environmental integrity of Plum Island. The amendment, which is identical to the Plum Island Conservation Act that Blumenthal, Murphy, Schumer and Gillibrand introduced in February, would permanently repeal a law requiring the General Service Administration (GSA) to abandon its traditional process for disposing of excess federal property and mandate sale of the island to the highest bidder.
“Plum Island should be protected and preserved—it is an environmental treasure with pristine beaches, miles of natural shorelines, and critical habitats for hundreds of types of plants and animals,” said Blumenthal. “We cannot allow this ecological gem to be devastated by private developers. Let’s act to permanently repeal the outdated and wrongheaded mandate to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder.”
“Plum Island is an ecological gem and home to hundreds of species of wildlife and numerous important historical sites. Preserving the Island’s rich history and natural resources is a top priority of mine. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues in the Connecticut and New York delegation to permanently protect this treasured island, and make sure it isn’t sold to the highest bidder,” said Murphy.
The environmental significance of Plum Island is remarkable. In the 2006 Long Island Sound Study, Connecticut state agencies, New York state agencies, federal agencies, and environmental organizations recognized the ecological and recreational importance of Plum Island as a Long Island Sound Stewardship Site. In addition, GSA’s own Final Environmental Impact Statement concluded that any development of Plum Island could have a major impact on land use, air quality, water resources and biological resources in the area. The amendment would allow the GSA to transfer government land such as Plum Island to another federal agency, state or local government, or private steward, with appropriate and due consideration of all stakeholders.