HARTFORD, NY (December 21, 2020)-- “Today we can finally and fully celebrate preserving Plum Island. This exquisite environmental treasure has been spared a headlong rush to sell to the highest bidder. We will continue to fight to preserve this special gem from future development. Plum Island is a unique environmental resource that is home to hundreds of species of wildlife and numerous important historical sites that must be preserved for future generations to enjoy," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Located at the eastern end of Long Island Sound, Plum Island is a key breeding and stopover site for thousands of birds, including at-risk and priority species like the Roseate Tern and Piping Plover. Until now, this ecological treasure was at risk of being lost to development, which would deprive the public of all the island has to offer. Such a sale would also cause irreversible harm to wildlife, threaten historical buildings, and risk Indigenous and American cultural history.
The Omnibus Budget bill Congress passed today will save Plum Island from the auction block. The bill restores the normal disposal procedure for federal property instead of auctioning it off to the highest bidder.
Next steps then include ensuring the island is transferred to another federal agency, state, or other body, a process that may take several years.
“It’s taken years of work to get this done, but finally, we’ve stopped the shortsighted plan to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “Plum Island is so important, both ecologically and historically, and I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in the Connecticut and New York delegations who have worked tirelessly with me to get this repeal across the finish line.”
“It is rare in conservation to get a second chance. All too often, a species becomes irretrievably lost to extinction or a forest is irreparably destroyed by development. But Congress, through repeal of the mandate directing the sale of Plum Island, is giving the island a second chance,” said John Turner, spokesperson for the Preserve Plum Island Coalition. “But this second chance is really a first step. The Coalition calls on all those who care about Plum Island to stand by as we look to the next steps in keeping it forever in public ownership.”
Audubon Connecticut is a member of the Preserve Plum Island Coalition (PPIC), whose mission is to secure the permanent protection of the significant natural and cultural resources of Plum Island.
An electronic press packet is available for media and includes background documents, maps, video, and photographs of Plum Island.
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