A Bill: Trans­form­ing weapons labs into a na­ture pre­serve

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - Politics/Policy - By Billy House

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.”

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