Sale of Island With Secretive Past Backed In Government Report

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Plum Island — the target of speculation for decades stoked by restricted access to its animal disease research laboratories — should be sold by the federal government, according to a report released Tuesday.

Aerial view of Plum Island, 12 miles off the coast of Connecticut. File Photo/Associated Press.

Aerial view of Plum Island, 12 miles off the coast of Connecticut. U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture Photo

A final, 512-page environmental impact study recommends the government-owned island — just 12 miles off the coast of Connecticut — be sold now that a new research facility is to be built in Kansas.

Read the entire report from the Government Administrative Services here.

Environmental advocates have pressed for the island to be kept as a nature preserve. An auction of the property does not necessarily rule out that option, but it also could open up the possibility of residential or other development.

Tuesday’s report drew swift reaction from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal who criticized the recommendation as “deeply disappointing and deficient.”

“It is flawed in failing to recommend measures to preserve open space on Plum Island,” Blumenthal said. “I will support challenges, joining environmental advocates in seeking to protect this unique, priceless open space and national treasure.”

Read more about Plum Island’s secretive past in this story from last summer by my colleague Denise Buffa.

Also, Carolee Salerno reported on Plum Island’s Animal Disease Control Facility for Fox CT in Feb. 2000. Watch the video here:

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11 thoughts on “Sale of Island With Secretive Past Backed In Government Report

  1. Niel Armstrong

    So let’s move a mad cow disease research facility inland to cattle country. Somebody got paid here.

    1. Matt from CT

      Well, if you grew up in cattle country — which is where most of the people who went to school to specialize in research areas like this, why the hell would you want to move to states like Connecticut and New York whose politicians are openly hostile to people from a rural culture?

      Laws like our recent assault on firearms will continue to have economic repercussions beyond just manufacturers leaving for greener pastures. These, and other, laws make employers located in our state unable to attract the best candidates who decide it’s not a state they want to live in.

  2. Piping Plover

    Just curious, why does Southold, NY have the right to lay claim to the island as within their political jurisdiction?
    The State of Connecticut should lay claim to the island and make it a park.

    1. Matt from CT

      When New York (New Amsterdam) was under Dutch control, Long Island from Oyster Bay east was considered part of Connecticut.

      In 1664 when England took possession from the Dutch, the land grant to the Duke of York included all off Long Island as well as all islands in Long Island Sound.

      It was disputed for years, but consistently supported by the Government back in London.

    2. mike

      This island is and always has been part of Southold.
      NY state owns fischers island, bug and little Gull as well as Plum Island. (this is a string of islands eminating from the tip of the north fork. Plum is the closest to “mainland long island”

      Aso the ferry to get to the research center is in Orient, part of Southold town.

  3. rick baldwin

    Sell it to the highest bidder-Corrupticut has more open space than it can take care of now.

    1. mc

      If Plum becomes a beautiful residential island like Fishers Island, it will be practically invisible to the rest of us, like Fishers Island. A playground for the rich.

  4. cmen

    Does anyone really care what Dick Blumenthal has to say. Anyone who claims to have fought in Vietnam and probably did not make it past Soundview needs to shut up! Those statements were very sick and inconsiderate to those who fought in vietnam!

  5. Copaco 68-85

    The Isle could be the “Alcatraz” on the east coast.
    Alot of historic info if the correct people are coorinated.

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