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Courtney, Zeldin, DeLauro, Rice, Suozzi Amendment to Restrict Sale of Plum Island Approved in FY 2020 Financial Services Appropriations Bill

June 25, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During the House’s consideration this evening of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 3351), Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Rosa DeLauro (C-CT), Tom Suozzi (D-NY) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced an amendment which the House adopted unanimously to prohibit the General Services Administration (GSA) from using any of its operational funding to process or complete a sale of Plum Island, NY. A final vote on the full appropriations measure in the House is expected to take place tomorrow.


“Plum Island is home to a diverse ecosystem, and it is a critical habitat for marine animals, migratory birds, and rare plants,” said the Representatives. “For over a decade, our New York and Connecticut delegations have worked together to preserve Plum Island as a natural sanctuary, and to prevent it from being sold off to the highest bidder for commercial development. Our amendment plays an important part in that effort, and would prevent the GSA—the agency in charge of the sale of the island—from using any of its operational funding to advertise, market, or otherwise move forward with the sale of Plum Island. Inclusion of our amendment in the underlying appropriations bill this evening is an important step forward toward taking the sale of Plum Island off the table once and for all.”


In April, the Representatives joined a larger coalition of members in writing to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Ranking Member Chuck Fleischmann to request that language ordering the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder be repealed by including their language in this year’s Homeland Security spending bill. Click here to read their letter. The language ultimately was included in the Homeland Security spending package that was reported out of the House Appropriations Committee June 11.

In 2008, the federal government announced plans to close the research facility on 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 ecologically significant island. In the 115th Congress, the Representatives, along with their colleagues from the Connecticut and New York delegations, cosponsored legislation that passed the House unanimously to delay the sale of Plum Island.