On March 15th, 2023, Rep. Nick LaLota (NY-01) introduced his first piece of legislation, the Plum Island National Monument Act. This bill 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.
“For years, Plum Island has been an important piece of Suffolk County. After years of uncertainty, Congress acted in 2020 to prevent the sale and ensure the preservation of Plum Island,” said LaLota. “My simple bill would permanently protect Plum Island by designating it as a national monument, thereby preventing the development and any damage to the unique environment. I am committed to seeing this legislation become law to support the best interests of our community.”
To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.
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.