Column: Mr. Bishop, gift, don’t sell, Plum Island

07/20/2013 8:00 AM |
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop announces his new bill to lift the congressional mandate to sell Plum Island.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop announces his new bill to lift the congressional mandate to sell Plum Island.

In a strong showing of bipartisanship and environmental activism, a coalition of pols and tree huggers gathered on a rocky beach overlooking Plum Island in sweltering heat Tuesday morning to support Congressman Tim Bishop’s “Save, Don’t Sell Plum Island Act of 2013.” It was an all-around love fest.

Later that same day, the Southampton Democrat filed his new bill in the House of Representatives in Washington. Which is where the love fest, no doubt, will come to a crashing end, given the economic and political forces that stand in the way.

In his favor, Mr. Bishop does boast co-sponsorship from colleagues from Connecticut and Staten Island, and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) plans to co-sponsor in the Senate. And, according to the congressman, New York’s two U.S. senators, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have expressed support for the legislation, which could be key given Mr. Schumer’s new-found political clout following his recent inauguration and immigration coups.

But make no mistake, it will be a long, hard and possibly impossible road from sponsorship to passage. There’s a great deal of money at stake as the feds pursue the sale of Plum Island to help offset the $1.2 billion price tag for the proposed National Bio-and-Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kan. (The Bishop bill simply unhooks the sale of Plum Island from the development of NBAF.) Never mind that it makes no sense to relocate our nation’s animal disease research and prevention efforts from an isolated island off the East Coast to the middle of cattle country. Visions of dollar signs do dance in the heads of the bureaucrats from Homeland Security and General Services, who propose selling the 840-acre island at public auction so it can be developed, they speculate, with 500 luxury homes. Yes, I know, it’s a ridiculous idea, but that’s what could happen if something doesn’t give. And, hopefully, the first thing to give will be the Southold Town Board’s rezoning of the property to take residential development out of the equation. That, in itself, will make the sale of Plum Island much less attractive to any private investor who faces the tens of millions of dollars in environmental mitigation that’s likely to follow.

My personal first choice for the property, if the Plum Island lab’s mission eventually is moved to Kansas, would be to have it become a National Wildlife Refuge. But if that’s not in the cards, how’s this for an idea with an obvious local precedent?: Have the feds gift the island to Southold Town, just as the feds gifted the Grumman property in Calverton to the Town of Riverhead back in the mid-1990s. Yes, I know, the situations aren’t entirely analogous — largely because Grumman paid Riverhead $1.3 million a year in lieu of taxes and Plum Island doesn’t pay Southold a cent — but wouldn’t you rather have the fate of our neighbor to the immediate east in the hands of the town council instead of the mooks in Washington?

And Tim Bishop can start this ball rolling by renaming his new bill the “Gift, Don’t Sell Plum Island Act of 2013.”

tgustavson@timesreview.com

12 Comment

  • There are definitely plenty of details like that to take into consideration. That may be a great level to carry up. I provide the ideas above as normal inspiration but clearly there are questions just like the one you bring up where a very powerful thing will be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round issues like that, but I’m sure that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the affect of only a moment¡¯s pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

  • What i don’t realize is actually how you’re not actually much more well-liked than you might be now. You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore significantly relating to this subject, produced me personally consider it from so many varied angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated unless it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  • Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • Simply desire to say your article is as surprising. The clearness on your post is simply spectacular and that i could suppose you are knowledgeable in this subject. Well together with your permission allow me to seize your RSS feed to keep up to date with coming near near post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  • Pingback: Trackback

  • Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  • Pingback: Trackback

  • I would also love to add that when you do not surely have an insurance policy or perhaps you do not form part of any group insurance, chances are you’ll well benefit from seeking assistance from a health insurance broker. Self-employed or those with medical conditions typically seek the help of an health insurance agent. Thanks for your article.

  • Pingback: boccale bearding calends

  • Howdy I am so glad I found your weblog, I really found you by mistake, while I was
    looking on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a
    fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog
    (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all
    at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep
    up the superb job.

  • Good article and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)