Blumenthal, Murphy renew push to protect Plum Island from development

Hartford Courant

Senators from New York and Connecticut are renewing their commitment to preserving Plum Island, a highly restricted government research site situated in Long Island Sound.

Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have filed an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to protect the 1.3 mile island. The amendment, which mirrors the Plum Island Conservation Act introduced by the Senators earlier, would permanently repeal a law requiring the General Service Administration to change its policies

"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," Blumenthal said. "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 Let's act to permanently repeal the outdated and wrongheaded mandate to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder."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,'' Murphy said. "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.".

With the exception of the government facility, Plum Island is largely undisturbed. Because of the pathogens studied there over the years, it has remained largely off-limits to the public.