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Connecticut Delegation Applauds House Committee Passing Legislation Intended to Prevent the Sale of Plum Island

April 29, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representative Joe Courtney (CT-2), joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), John Larson (CT-1), Jim Himes (CT-4) and Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), released the following statement after the House Homeland Security Committee voted yesterday in favor of legislation to delay any sale of Plum Island by requiring an additional comprehensive federal review of alternative management and use of the island:

“Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound,” said the lawmakers. “The island is home to a rich assortment of endangered species, and should be preserved as a natural sanctuary – not sold off to the highest bidder for development. We have long supported federal legislation to remove the government requirement to sell Plum Island as a means to finance a new research facility. The sale of Plum Island is no longer financially necessary because Congress has fully appropriated the funds to build the new bioresearch facility in Kansas. Now that this legislation has been passed in committee, it is our hope that it will be quickly passed by the full House and taken up in the Senate. We are closer than we have ever been to permanently protecting Plum Island.”

H.R. 1887, as amended and passed out of committee, would expand on an ongoing study of the island by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the conservation and cost of Plum Island. The new report, administered by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), would use the study by the Department of Homeland Security to assess the feasibility and cost of alternative uses and cleanup of current government sites on the island. The bill also prohibits the use of the existing authority to sell the island until 180 days after the report is submitted to Congress, providing additional opportunity to further restrict the sale or transfer of the property. The underlying bill is sponsored by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and has been co-sponsored by the entire Connecticut House delegation.  Senators Blumenthal and Murphy support similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.