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Reps. Courtney, Zeldin, Lead Bipartisan NY/CT Delegation in Introducing New Legislation to Preserve Plum Island

March 7, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Joe Courtney (D, CT-2) and Representatives Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) were joined by Rosa DeLauro (D, CT-3), Eliot Engel (D, NY-16), Grace Meng (D, NY-6), John Larson (D, CT-1), Tom Suozzi (D, NY-3), Antonio Delgado (D, NY-19), Peter King (R, NY-2) James Langevin (D, RI-2) and Kathleen Rice (D, NY-4) to introduce the Plum Island Preservation Act of 2019, which would repeal the law mandating the sale of Plum Island and require any further use of the island be for conservation, education and/or research purposes.

Over the last 4 years, the House passed language to preserve Plum Island unanimously 4 times, but the legislation died due to inaction by the Senate.

A PDF of the Plum Island Preservation Act of 2019 is available here.

Rep. Courtney said, “Today’s introduction of a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to secure Plum Island’s future viability and environmental protection status is an exciting development. Looking back over the last two Congresses, Representative Zeldin and I have been able to pass legislation seeking to protect Plum Island on a bipartisan basis, and at times with unanimous support. This year’s bill is a qualitative step forward from our past work on this issue – it enhances our efforts even further with a real plan for historic preservation, and the full repeal of the federal statute requiring the sale of the island. With the new majority, I think the prospects are very good for this bill to succeed, as it has in the past, and for Plum Island’s protected status to be secured for generations to come. I’m grateful for Congressman Zeldin’s teamwork with me on this issue, as well as for the continued support of my colleague from Connecticut, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

Rep. Zeldin said, “Not only does Plum Island offer Long Island a diverse wildlife and ecosystem and critical habitat for migratory birds, marine mammals, and rare plants, but it is also an essential cultural and historical resource with recorded history dating back to the 1700s. The current law, which mandates the sale of the island to the highest bidder, is the wrong path forward, because it does not provide for public access and permanent preservation of the island, or the continued use of the research infrastructure. The state of the art research facility at Plum Island must not go to waste, and preserving this island’s natural beauty while maintaining a research mission will continue to provide important economic and environmental benefits to Long Island. I thank Congressman Courtney for his bipartisan leadership on this issue and continued support of my Long Island colleagues, Representatives King, Rice and Suozzi.”