LaLota to Biden: Protect Plum Island for Future Generations
PLUM ISLAND, N.Y. – Today, May 5th, 2023, Rep. Nick LaLota (NY-01) sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling on the President to either voice support for the Plum Island National Monument Act, which aims to permanently protect the island, or designate the island as a national monument through Presidential powers authorized in the Antiquities Act of 1906.
“Plum Island is an important and unique ecosystem that serves as a critical habitat for rare species and provides essential resources to nearby communities. My Plum Island National Monument Act is a vital step towards safeguarding this important piece of Suffolk County,” said LaLota. “It is our responsibility to ensure that the unique ecosystem and cultural heritage of Plum Island is protected and preserved for future generations. As a supporter of conversation and protecting Suffolk County, I am urging President Biden to support my legislation and protect Plum Island.”
In March, LaLota introduced the Plum Island National Monument Act, which would establish Plum Island, N.Y. as a national monument for the purpose of ecological conservation, historical preservation, and the discovery and celebration of our shared cultural heritage.
Plum Island, New York is located in Southold Township about three miles from Orient, New York. In 1954, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) was established on the island and managed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
In 2002, the Department of Homeland Security was tasked with continuing the operation. The laboratory conducted research on foreign animal diseases and worked to prevent the introduction and spread of such diseases. After significant community concerns, in 2005, the PIADC was ordered to close and relocate to Manhattan, Kansas. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security are still in the process of deconstructing the PIADC.
The Department of Homeland Security originally was required by law to sell Plum Island to the highest bidder, however, former Congressman Lee Zeldin was successful in passing legislation to repeal that requirement. Congressman LaLota’s legislation would ensure that Plum Island’s natural habitat is protected and preserved for generations to come.