Sign our petition asking for permanent preservation of Plum Island! Preserve Plum Island Coalition find major flaws in study directed by Congress
Connecticut Fund for the Environment and its bi-state program Save the Sound and fellow members of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition expressed disappointment in the highly-anticipated Plum Island report just released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Plum Island, a federally-owned 840-acre property at the eastern end of Long Island Sound that hosts endangered species, is at risk of being auctioned off and its fragile habitats lost. CFE/Save the Sound and fellow members of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition have advocated for years that the federal government develop a conservation plan for the island. Advocates ramped up efforts exponentially after the Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration (GSA) failed to consider conservation alternatives in their 2013 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the island’s sale.
We are Upset! Are You? Tell Homeland Security by taking two actions right now.
1) Sign the Save Plum Island Petition.
2) Share it with your friends to get 1000 signatures by July 8th!
Homeland Security’s Plum Island Study failed to fully consider conservation alternatives for the island. Please tell DHS that you want the endangered species and natural resources of Plum Island conserved by signing our petition today!
Several months ago, the Congressional Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security directed the Department of Homeland Security to generate a comprehensive study of options for long-term use of the island, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and GSA. The report was to analyze alternatives to an unfettered sale of Plum Island—alternatives that could protect Plum Island’s vital habitats and wildlife. Homeland Security was directed to consider environmental and historic resources and to identify any needed legislative changes, costs, and revenues to accomplish that goal.
“Despite being given a second bite at the apple, the Department of Homeland Security has once again fallen short when it comes to identifying options for protecting Plum Island,” said Leah Schmalz, program director for CFE/Save the Sound. “Homeland Security had clear instructions from Congress and six months to put together a strong report. Instead, what they cobbled together has a sparse review of old wildlife information, only the most basic look at alternatives to an unfettered sale, and no concrete recommendations for how to reuse the current facility while conserving the island’s priceless dunes, wetlands, and bluffs. Again Homeland Security has ignored the clear discretion Congress provided it in the original sale language. Again Homeland Security has ignored all the local, state, and federal agencies that have highlighted the government interest in preserving Plum’s endangered species and critical habitats. And again Homeland Security has ignored the voices of thousands upon thousands of citizens asking the federal government to save Plum Island. It is now clearer than ever that Homeland Security is not serious about furthering the protections that the people and wildlife of this region deserve.”
John Turner, spokesman for the over-60-member Preserve Plum Island Coalition, said, “The Preserve Plum Island Coalition is deeply disappointed with DHS’s Plum Island Report. The report is incomplete and lacks meaningful data, superficial in its analysis, does not adequately assess the potential of alternatives to the sale of the island and, most importantly, doesn’t comply with the Congressional directive. It represents nothing more than a low-effort, cut-and-paste job of past documents. Congress should reject this woeful document and tell DHS to conduct the detailed analysis that both Plum Island and the public deserves and that Congress required.”
In their 2013 Final EIS, Homeland Security and the GSA failed to adequately addressed concerns raised by the public after the Draft EIS was released. They dismissed critical data and information about conservation alternatives that CFE/Save the Sound, other environmental organizations, scientists, and state and federal agencies provided to them over the course of three years. Numerous local, state, and federal agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the EPA, have repeatedly identified compelling government interests in protecting Plum Island’s habitats for rare wildlife and plants, interests which Homeland Security has again failed to acknowledge in their latest report.
“This report makes the same fundamentally flawed anti-environment assumptions as Homeland Security’s original Environmental Impact Statement did. The only difference is that this has even less environmental detail than the already flawed EIS,” said Roger Reynolds, legal director for CFE/Save the Sound. “The people of Connecticut and New York should not be expected to sit idly by while federal government agencies attempt to auction Plum Island off to the highest bidders without regard for its conservation value despite consistent direction from Congress to the contrary.”
Sign our petition and tell Homeland Security that you want them to take responsibility for the endangered and at-risk wildlife and the unique natural resources of Plum Island protected and preserved. Please sign our petition herePlease sign our petition here. Then ask your friends to as well—we need 1000 signature by July 8th.