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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney, DeLauro Hail Passage Of Bill Prohibiting The Sale Of Plum Island

July 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC --- Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) announced that a bipartisan bill they led along with Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to prohibit the sale of Plum Island passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill prohibits the General Services Administration (GSA) from using any of its operational funding to process or complete a sale of Plum Island until after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) completes a study of alternative disposition options for the island. A similar measure passed last year, but did not make it through the Senate.

Click here to watch Courtney and DeLauro’s remarks on the House floor this afternoon.

“Plum Island is a scenic and biological treasure located right in the middle of Long Island Sound,” said Courtney. “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. I have long supported federal legislation that will eliminate the government requirement to sell Plum Island as a means to finance a new research facility. Now that this legislation has been passed in the House, it is my hope that it will be quickly taken up and passed by the Senate. We are closer now than we have ever been to permanently protecting Plum Island.”

“I am heartened by this critical step toward preserving the future of Plum Island,” said Delauro. This is a refuge for wildlife and native plants that, once development, cannot be restored. By fully evaluating alternative uses for Plum Island—rather than selling it to the highest bidder—we can ensure that this ecological, historical, and cultural treasure can be protected for generations to come.”

H.R. 2182, as passed in the House, would expand on an ongoing study of the island by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the conservation and cost of Plum Island. The GAO report 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. 

In 2008, the federal government announced plans to close the research facility on the 840-acre Plum Island and relocate to Manhattan, Kansas. Current law states that Plum Island must be sold publicly to help finance the new research facility. For several years, members from both sides of Long Island Sound have been working in a bipartisan manner to delay and, ultimately, repeal the mandated sale of this ecological treasure.

The measure now moves to the Senate for further consideration.