A Bill: Transforming weapons labs into a nature preserve
H.R. 1887 To amend certain appropriation acts
Plum Island, an 840-acre haven off the northern tip of New York’s Long Island, is losing its only tenant: the federal government, which is preparing to shut down Cold War-era biological weapons labs located there. On May 16, the House of Representatives passed a bill instructing the government to explore turning the island into a nature preserve.
The measure would suspend provisions of a 2008 law requiring the island to be sold to the highest bidder. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is among the developers who’ve expressed interest, telling Newsday in 2013 that Plum Island “would be a really beautiful, worldclass golf course.” The federal General Services Administration website advertises the island’s natural beauty, its proximity to ferry services, and its historic lighthouse, built in 1869.
A parallel measure proposed in the Senate by Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal would also repeal the requirement to sell the island and instead direct the government to pick an agency to oversee cleanup and conservation of its historic and environmental resources. In an April 29 statement, Blumenthal and six other Connecticut lawmakers said, “The island is home to a rich assortment of endangered species and should be preserved as a natural sanctuary—not sold off.”