Plum Island Lawsuit

Location: Orient Point, New York | Status: Active

Summary: The approximately 90% of Plum Island that is undeveloped is an ecological gem. It is home to federally threatened, and state endangered, piping plovers, along with approximately 190 other bird species that utilize the island for breeding or migratory purposes. In addition, it is the most significant seal haul-out site in southern New England, playing host to up to several hundred grey and harbor seals each winter. When the federal government sought to sell the island to the highest bidder, and to ignore standard procedures for considering conservation options, Save the Sound sued in federal court to block it the sale until all conservation options were evaluated and, if appropriate, pursued. After a judge ruled in our favor on a motion to dismiss, the federal government agreed to do a more thorough environmental impact and we stayed the case to see how that process turned out. It is still pending, however, as the government had not agreed to all the measures we were seeking. In December 2020, in a huge legislative victory, Congress repealed the law requiring the sale of the island, making clear that conservation had to be considered and pursued in appropriate circumstances. We are now working with New York State or another appropriate purchaser to purchase the island for conservation, however our lawsuit is still pending and ready to be re-activated in case the federal government fails to follow through.

Latest Step: Case is stayed pending outcome of the disposition process.

Next Step: If the federal government fails to pursue appropriate conservation outcomes, in the disposition process, we will seek to re-activate the case.

Further Reading:

Action Opportunities:

Last Updated: October 22, 2021


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