NY and CT Senators Accelerate Plum Island Preservation

By GREGORY ZELLER //

The preservationist armada blockading Plum Island enlists heavy guns.

Barely two months after the Long Island Regional Planning Board announced its support for public and private efforts to permanently preserve the mixed-heritage islet – and supporters directly requested Governor Kathy Hochul’s assistance in efforts to have it named a national monument – the US Senate delegation from the New York State sent a letter to US Department of the Interiorseeking the “permanent protection” of Plum Island.

The island has already been spared commercial development, at least temporarily: in 2020, relentless pressure from environmentalists based in New York and Connecticut forced the US Congress to cancel a scheduled auction properties on Plum Island.

Conservationists cheered the victory and immediately set about having the 822-acre island – home to old army barracks and historic lighthouses and, since 1954, the Plum Island Animal Disease Centerfounded by the United States Department of Agriculture and now a US Department of Homeland Security agency – declared a national monument.

Deb Halaand: Recruitment process.

With the Animal Disease Center in the midst of a long-planned and carefully executed program moving to Kansasregional conservationists want to secure the largely underdeveloped Plum Island – where recorded history dates back to 1659filled with the adventures of European settlers and native Indian tribes – remains pristine.

The same goes for American senses Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who joined the US Senate delegation from Connecticut – Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy – in a letter from the April 25 at the US Department of the Interior. Deb Halaand, requesting the department’s assistance “to ensure the preservation of federally owned lands off the eastern tip of the North Fork of Long Island.”

Specifically, the senators urged the secretary to “use all available executive and administrative tools at your disposal to ensure the continued protection of Plum Island and its management for conservation by the Department of the Interior.”

The full-page letter goes on to list the island’s ‘notable natural, cultural and historical resources’, including two sites already on the National Register of Historic Places and nesting grounds for 111 “species of conservation concern”.

Based in Connecticut record soundthe flag carrier’s parent organization Preserve Plum Island Coalitionwas “delighted to hear that Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Blumenthal and Murphy have reached out to Secretary Haaland,” noted David Anderson, Save the Sound Land Campaigns Manager.

“The Preserve Plum Island Coalition has worked hard to generate support at the federal level,” Anderson told Innovate Long Island. “[The senators’] pushing for permanent protection of Plum Island is great news.

But even with the heavy hitters on board, PPIC’s work has only just begun, according to the land campaign manager.

“The Preserve Plum Island Coalition looks forward to working with Senators and the Department of the Interior to implement a solution that would protect Plum Island as an ecological and cultural resource,” Anderson added.

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