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Sale of Plum Island, New York

Plum Island buildingPlum Island is an 840-acre island located approximately 1.5 miles off the northeast tip of Orient Point, Long Island, New York. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), operates the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) on the island. Plum Island is formerly the home of the U.S. Army's Fort Terry and was transferred to the USDA in 1954 to establish a research facility for foot-and-mouth disease.

In 2003, Plum Island was transferred to DHS. PIADC is comprised of buildings, industrial facilities and equipment, roadways, utilities, specialized facilities, easements, and rights of way. Additional assets on Plum Island include natural undeveloped land, the Plum Island Lighthouse constructed in 1869, and buildings and structures associated with the former Fort Terry. DHS also owns and operates transportation assets and a 9.5-acre facility to support PIADC at Orient Point, New York which includes buildings, utilities, and ferry docking facilities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why is the sale of Plum Island being considered?

DHS, in cooperation with the USDA, operates the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) on the island. The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 mandates the sale as a result of the determination by DHS to construct and operate a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas and move its operations from the PIADC to the NBAF (Record of Decision dated 01/16/2009).

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What is the National Environmental Policy Act?

NEPA requires analysis and a detailed statement of the environmental impact of any proposed federal action that might significantly affects the quality of the human environment. NEPA ensures that social and environmental factors are considered along with the technical and economic components of a decision and requires that potential environmental impacts, and any adverse effects that cannot be avoided, be identified and alternatives to the proposed action be considered. NEPA also consults with all relevant federal, state, and local agencies to identify impacts so they can be minimized.

NEPA provides full disclosure with provisions for public access to, and full participation in, the federal decision-making process. NEPA's intent is to enhance the environment through well-informed federal decisions

Three NEPA documents were created in the course of this action:
1) A Draft EIS was published on July 20, 2012. The Draft EIS was available for public comment from July 20, 2012 through October 26, 2012;

2) A Final EIS was published on June 25, 2013; and 

3) A Record of Decision (ROD) that documents the final decision on the proposed action and specifies mitigation measures (methods to lessen negative impacts) and monitoring programs to be undertaken was published on August 29, 2013.

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What is an Environmental Impact Statement?

An EIS is a summary of a detailed study that analyzes the environmental impacts of a proposed action and its alternatives. It also includes an extensive public involvement process. The potential for significant environmental effects or high public interest associated with a proposed action is usually the basis for preparing an EIS. It will examine the impacts from the sale of Plum Island to both the natural and the human environment. An EIS will be prepared in Draft form circulated for comment, then issued as a Final and another comment period will be provided before the document is finalized and the project proceeds.

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Why did GSA need an EIS for the sale of Plum Island?

An EIS was selected for this project because it provides the highest level of analysis with the greatest opportunity for input by interested parties before decisions or commitments are made. Under NEPA, the purpose of the EIS is to examine the effects associated with the anticipated sale of Plum Island, New York and its support facility at Orient Point, New York. All documents pertaining to the EIS for the Sale of Plum Island, New York can found under the NEPA tab of this website. 

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What was evaluated in the EIS?

The EIS addresses the potential impacts to the environment of two alternatives: sale of Plum Island (the "Action Alternative"), and continued Federal ownership (the "No-Action Alternative"). The Action Alternative has been further refined into a series of reasonably foreseeable land use options. In response to the lack of certainty concerning future reuse of the Property, the EIS identifies reasonable land use options that could result upon the sale of the Property.

The EIS identifies potential impacts on biological and cultural resources, noise and air quality, geology and soils, hazardous waste, infrastructure, land use, socioeconomics, traffic and transportation, waste management, and water resources, as well as other environmental issues that could occur as a result of the sale. For potentially significant impacts, the EIS suggests mitigation measures to reduce these impacts, where feasible.

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Has an EIS been prepared for the site selection of NBAF?

Yes, DHS completed an EIS and issued a Record of Decision on January 16, 2009.

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Where can I find information regarding the Record of Decision for NBAF?

The NBAF Record of Decision can be found here.

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Will the construction of NBAF effect the Plum Island EIS?

No, the Plum Island EIS is a report independent of the NBAF project and will analyze the impacts of the sale of the Property. All analyses pertaining to the relocation of the mission off of Plum Island have already been presented in the NBAF EIS.

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John L. A. Dugan

U.S. General Services Administration
Office of Real Property Utilization & Disposal

10 Causeway Street, Room 1010, Boston, MA 02222
(617) 565-5709

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Plum Island New York