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Rep. Zeldin Secures Long Awaited Historic Language to Save Plum Island in Congressional Spending Bill

Press Release

Date: Dec. 16, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Co-Chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, announced he secured language in Congress' upcoming spending bill to permanently repeal the federal law to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder.

Senator Ron Johnson (R, WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, had opposed reversing this federal law due to long standing opposition by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the past two weeks, as Congressional funding was being negotiated, Congressman Zeldin worked closely with Senator Johnson and White House and DHS leadership to successfully advocate for their assistance to remove the opposition and get this extremely high priority over the finish line for the First Congressional District of New York. Congressman Zeldin also worked with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D, NY) who played an important role as well to support this effort.

"Not only does Plum Island offer diverse wildlife, a precious ecosystem and critical habitat for migratory birds, marine mammals, and rare plants, but it is an essential cultural and historical resource as well," said Congressman Lee Zeldin. "The current law, which mandates the sale of the island to the highest bidder, is the wrong path forward. It's an honor to deliver this huge win that will reverse that law and help preserve Plum Island's rich history and tap into its limitless potential for generations to come."

In 2008, Congress created a new law to mandate the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder. Since coming to Congress, Congressman Zeldin has secured House passage of 6 of his proposals to preserve Plum Island as a world-renowned research facility, historical site and conservation area, and secured $1.5 million in federal funds last summer to stabilize and restore its iconic lighthouse.

Last year, Congressman Zeldin authored and secured enactment of legislative language to halt the sale of the island for Fiscal Year 2020. Additionally, this Congress, he introduced the Plum Island Preservation Act of 2019, which would permanently 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.

Congressman Zeldin concluded, "Once the upcoming Congressional appropriations bill is passed by Congress and signed by the President, the federal law mandating that Plum Island be sold to the highest bidder will be permanently reversed. I would like to thank my colleagues in government for their support and the tireless Plum Island advocates throughout our region for their tenacity all along the way. It's been an honor to lead this fight, and I'm looking forward to celebrating this big win with all of them."


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