Long Island East End Supervisors and Mayors Work Together to Save Plum Island


April 26, 2017

East End Supervisors and Mayors Work Together to Save Plum Island

Bipartisan letter of support sent to Cuomo, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Zeldin

SOUTHOLD, NY. – All five of Long Island’s East End town supervisors and the ten village mayors are appealing to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Lee Zeldin in an effort to preserve Plum Island and stop its sale by the General Services Administration and Department of Homeland security.

In the letter to Governor Cuomo, dated April 26, 2017, East End town supervisors and village mayors ask Cuomo to consider using the State’s authority under the coastal consistency provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act and the State’s Coastal Management Program to make it clear to the Federal Government that sale of the island to a private entity would adversely affect coastal resources and would be inconsistent with several of New York’s coastal policies.

“Plum Island’s importance stretches through all East End communities. With its many coastal resources, such as habitat for seals and endangered birds, historical sites, and a research campus that now provides approximately 200 local jobs, it is a critical part of East End identity and a great source of pride,” said James Dougherty, Supervisor of the Town of Shelter Island and Chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association. “We all agree Plum Island needs long-term protection and we will work collaboratively to support our regional gem.”

In its letter to legislators, also dated April, 26, 2017, the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association suggest keeping the existing laboratory and supporting infrastructure that encompass 20 percent of Plum Island as a research facility and preserving the remainder of the island, already zoned a conservation district by the Town of Southold, as a wildlife refuge to be managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We are grateful for the leadership of our local elected officials,” said Louise Harrison, Save the Sound’s New York natural areas coordinator. “These towns know first hand the importance of protecting the habitats and wildlife that make Long Island unique and of saving the open spaces that enhance the quality of life for their residents.”

The Plum Island Animal Disease Center will move its operations to the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, sometime between 2020 and 2022, when a new facility is ready.

“The Preserve Plum Island Coalition is pleased to see that our local leaders are fighting for the future of Plum Island,” said John Turner, spokesperson for the Preserve Plum Island Coaltion. “We look forward to working with them and with our congressional delegation during the upcoming year to ensure the beaches and bluffs, terns and plovers, and turtles and whales of the island are protected.”

The five East End towns are: Shelter Island, Southold, Southampton, Riverhead, and East Hampton.

The ten villages are: Quogue, Southampton, Sag Harbor, Dering Harbor, Sagaponack, North Haven, Greenport, East Hampton, Westhampton Beach, West Hampton Dunes.


Get Involved
Jump in

Join the fight! Memberships start at just $25 – support that’s badly needed now for a healthy, sustainable environment over the long term.

Join now

Take part

Tuesday, February 2, 12:00 p.m.
Environmental Film Club: "Blue Carbon - A Story from the Snohomish Estuary" - Nearly all major US cities are built on or around an estuary because of the numerous benefits they provide. Join Save the Sound’s ecological restoration staff as they discuss the role that healthy estuaries play in keeping carbon out of our atmosphere and how our restoration projects support your natural environments.

See more

Connect with us

Stay in touch by joining our activist network email list. We'll keep you up-to-date with current initiatives, ways you can take action and volunteer opportunities.

Sign up