PLUM ISLAND - Environmental groups are launching a legal battle to prevent the federal government from selling Plum Island.
A coalition of Long Islanders are trying to save what they call an ecological gem from being sold by the federal government to the highest bidder.
The groups fear that if the island is sold, it could be developed into luxury homes, condos or even a resort.
“The basis of the lawsuit is the federal government did not comply with environmental laws on how that island needs to be protected if it is sold,” says Bob DeLuca, of Group for the East End. “Our best hope here is at the end of the day that portion of the island that is underdeveloped will become a federal wildlife refuge to protect the rare species that are there.”
Environmentalists say they want the 800-acre island handed over to the Department of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
The US House has passed a bill to stop federal money from being used to market or sell Plum Island. The legislation was the work of Rep. Lee Zeldin, who also got the House to pass a plan to stop the sale of the federal island to the highest bidder. Both of those bills are now being considered by the Senate. Zeldin and others want to preserve Plum Island after the lab is relocated to Kansas.