The home of the US Government owned Plum Island Animal Disease Center, looks set to change hands to a private party as part of a debt-lowering package.
The closure of the Plum Island Animal Center looks all but certain, as US Government financial experts seek to implement a crucial debt-reducing package. A recently released federal environmental report recommended the sale of the island to a private party, in a move which has been deemed reckless by environmental campaigners.
Currently used for research into animal diseases, the center is scheduled for closure in 2021, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security looking to move its 100 scientists and 300 support personnel to a new custom built laboratory at the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.
Several development possibilities are currently being explored, with options including a private research facility, a business park or a nature preserve. Most surprising, however, was the suggestion that – despite 87 former waste sites – the island might be turned into a housing estate, capable of supporting up to 500 homes.
Local estate agents have already expressed interest, with the condition that a more thorough investigation into the extent of the environmental contamination is carried out. Such a review would be “critical in informing the terms and conditions of the sale,” according to General Services Administration, the company responsible for the island’s sale.
A campaign to keep the island in public hands is gathering momentum, with environmentalists arguing that the land should be retained by the US Government. Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment deeming the proposed sale of the island “reckless and imprudent.”
A final decision regarding the development options is yet to be made.