Press Release: Senator Blumenthal Urges President to Preserve Plum Island

Senator Murphy Visits Plum, Pushes for Preservation

Southold, NY—Both of Connecticut’s U.S. Senators this week threw their support behind the preservation of Plum Island. Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote to the White House, urging President Biden’s “strong support in the preservation and conservation of Plum Island.” The senator argued that naming Plum Island a National Monument would be “the most readily available means to assure preservation,” adding, “Such action would be highly appropriate for this valuable, threatened national treasure, so it could be managed with environmental interests as a priority.” Read the full letter here.

On Wednesday, Senator Chris Murphy, Chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, visited Plum Island, owned by the Department of Homeland Security. In later posts on social media, he noted that he had “learned a lot” about the island and its Animal Disease Center, which is slated to move to Manhattan, Kansas, in 2024. Murphy wrote: “[A]s the Chairman of the committee that writes the DHS budget, I am committed to preserving Plum Island instead of selling it to the highest bidder.”

Blumenthal and Murphy joined New York senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand last April in sending a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, asking her to ensure Plum Island’s permanent protection.

Louise Harrison, New York natural areas coordinator for Save the Sound, said: “The strong and active support of Senators Blumenthal and Murphy this week for the preservation of Plum Island is a major step toward earning it National Monument status, which would protect this uniquely rich ecological, historical, and cultural resource forever. We are grateful for the senators’ support as we continue to broadcast our message loud and clear to the President: Proclaim Plum Island a national monument for ecological conservation, historical preservation, and the discovery and celebration of our shared cultural heritage.”

The Preserve Plum Island Coalition of 120 member organizations, coordinated by Save the Sound, helped save Plum Island from federal sale in 2020 and is now spearheading the fight to preserve the island as a National Monument. Located 100 miles from New York City off the tip of Long Island’s North Fork, 822-acre Plum Island is home to vast areas undisturbed by humans and encircled by an ecosystem rich in marine life. It is also culturally significant—a host to two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a land valued by the area’s Indigenous people.

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