FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2017
East End Supervisors and Mayors Work Together to Save Plum Island
Bipartisan letter of support sent to Cuomo, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Zeldin
SOUTHOLD, NY. – All five of Long Island’s East End town supervisors and the ten village mayors are appealing to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Lee Zeldin in an effort to preserve Plum Island and stop its sale by the General Services Administration and Department of Homeland security.
In the letter to Governor Cuomo, dated April 26, 2017, East End town supervisors and village mayors ask Cuomo to consider using the State’s authority under the coastal consistency provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the State’s Coastal Management Program to make it clear to the Federal Government that sale of the island to a private entity would adversely affect coastal resources and would be inconsistent with several of New York’s coastal policies.
“Plum Island’s importance stretches through all East End communities. With its many coastal resources, such as habitat for seals and endangered birds, historical sites, and a research campus that now provides approximately 200 local jobs, it is a critical part of East End identity and a great source of pride,” said James Dougherty, Supervisor of the Town of Shelter Island and Chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association. “We all agree Plum Island needs long-term protection and we will work collaboratively to support our regional gem.”
In its letter to legislators, also dated April, 26, 2017, the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association suggest keeping the existing laboratory and supporting infrastructure that encompass 20 percent of Plum Island as a research facility and preserving the remainder of the island, already zoned a conservation district by the Town of Southold, as a wildlife refuge to be managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
“We are grateful for the leadership of our local elected officials,” said Louise Harrison, Save the Sound’s New York natural areas coordinator. “These towns know first hand the importance of protecting the habitats and wildlife that make Long Island unique and of saving the open spaces that enhance the quality of life for their residents.”
The Plum Island Animal Disease Center will move its operations to the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, sometime between 2020 and 2022, when a new facility is ready.
“The Preserve Plum Island Coalition is pleased to see that our local leaders are fighting for the future of Plum Island,” said John Turner, spokesperson for the Preserve Plum Island Coaltion. “We look forward to working with them and with our congressional delegation during the upcoming year to ensure the beaches and bluffs, terns and plovers, and turtles and whales of the island are protected.”
The five East End towns are: Shelter Island, Southold, Southampton, Riverhead, and East Hampton.
The ten villages are: Quogue, Southampton, Sag Harbor, Dering Harbor, Sagaponack, North Haven, Greenport, East Hampton, Westhampton Beach, West Hampton Dunes.