Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Lee Zeldin (1st District of New York)
SOUTHOLD, NY – On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), hosted a virtual press conference via Zoom with Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Agular, Shelter Island Supervisor Gerry Siller and Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams, Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Assemblywoman-Elect Jodi Giglio, John Turner of the Plum Island Coalition, Louise Harrison, Chris Cryder and Leah Schmalz of Save the Sound, Greg Jacob of The Nature Conservancy, Adrienne Esposito of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Bob DeLuca of Group for the East End, and others to celebrate the repeal of a 2008 federal law that required Plum Island to be sold to the highest bidder.
Senator Ron Johnson (R, WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, had opposed reversing this federal law due to long standing opposition by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the past three weeks, as Congressional funding was being negotiated, Congressman Zeldin worked closely with Senator Johnson and White House and DHS leadership to successfully advocate for their assistance to remove the opposition and get this extremely high priority over the finish line for the First Congressional District of New York. Due to Congressman Zeldin’s efforts, the 2008 federal law has now been reversed. Congressman Zeldin also worked with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D, NY) who maintained direct contact with Congressman Zeldin during this effort.
“Not only does Plum Island offer diverse wildlife, a precious ecosystem and critical habitat for migratory birds, marine mammals, and rare plants, but it is an essential cultural and historical resource as well,” said Congressman Lee Zeldin following passage of this legislation. “The law which mandated the sale of the island to the highest bidder was the wrong path forward. It’s an honor to deliver this huge win that reversed that law and preserves Plum Island’s rich history and taps into its limitless potential for generations to come. I would like to thank my colleagues in government for their support and the tireless Plum Island advocates throughout our region for their tenacity all along the way. It’s been an honor to lead this fight, and I’m looking forward to continuing to fight for the future of Plum Island.”
In 2008, Congress created a new law to mandate the sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder. Since coming to Congress, Congressman Zeldin has secured House passage of 6 of his proposals to preserve Plum Island as a world-renowned research facility, historical site and conservation area, and secured $1.5 million in federal funds last year to stabilize and restore its iconic lighthouse.
Last year, Congressman Zeldin authored and secured enactment of legislative language to halt the sale of the island for Fiscal Year 2020. Additionally, this Congress, he introduced the Plum Island Preservation Act of 2019, which would permanently repeal the law mandating the sale of Plum Island and require any further use of the island be for conservation, education and/or research purposes.