NY Environment chairs ask Cuomo to champion Plum Island preservation


May 16, 2019

Contact: Laura McMillan, 203-787-0646

NY Environment chairs ask Cuomo to champion Plum Island preservation

Southold, New York – The chairs of the New York legislature’s environmental committee have sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him to help save Plum Island.

“Plum Island is an ecological and cultural treasure,” said Assemblyman Steve Englebright. “If our Federal government didn’t already own it, the island would be at the top of our priority list for open space acquisition. It’s been 10 long years since federal legislation put Plum Island up for sale. In the letter Senator Kaminsky and I wrote to Governor Cuomo, we asked that he use the power of his office to stop the sale of this unique island and work toward its permanent protection.”

In their May 10 letter, Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky identify the site as a “high priority open space asset” for the State of New York. The legislators suggest Cuomo inform the federal government that New York is interested in purchasing the island for a state park or preserve, or object to the sale of Plum Island or substantial changes in its use by implementing and advancing the state’s policies in the Long Island Sound Coastal Management Program, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.

Louise Harrison, New York natural areas coordinator for Save the Sound, said, “It would be wonderful if Governor Cuomo decided to be Plum Island’s champion. New York has recognized the island’s incredible natural, cultural, and historical resources for decades, and knows how much the East End needs to retain high quality jobs. The State could show the way to preserving Plum Island for future generations. Plum Island is the bright centerpiece of our East End archipelago dotting the clean, clear waters of eastern Long Island Sound.”

“The Preserve Plum Island Coalition greatly appreciates the interest that Senator Kaminsky and Assemblyman Englebright have shown regarding the preservation of this special place,” said John Turner, spokesperson for the Preserve Plum Island Coalition. “We further appreciate their awareness of the unique role that New York State can play toward achieving this most worthwhile goal. PPIC hopes that Governor Cuomo agrees and continues to build on his impressive environmental legacy by exercising the powers he has to safeguard Plum Island.”

Plum Island, located off Orient Point, Long Island, is currently slated to be sold at auction after the Plum Island Animal Disease Center moves to Kansas. Legislation to permanently protect the island has been introduced in Congress several times. Save the Sound and The Nature Conservancy are in the midst of a multi-month stakeholder process to develop a viable and broadly supported vision for the future of the island.


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