The federal spending bill being debated in Congress could stave off a sale of Plum Island, according to Newsday.
In 2008, Congress ordered the government sell the 840-acre island to the highest bidder. Now, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has included a provision in the upcoming spending bill to repeal that requirement. If passed, the provision would require that locals weigh in on the island’s fate before the government can take any action toward a sale.
Schumer’s provision also allocates $18.9 million to the Department of Homeland Security to clean up the island. Located just east of the North Fork’s Orient Point, the island about three miles long and a mile wide and is home to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a federal research center, but the government is moving that facility to Kansas. It got its name from the beach plums that grow there.
The island has been sold before. Legend has it that in 1659 the Montaukket tribe sold it to an Englishman for a coat and some tools.