Sale of Plum Island, New York

Pursuant to the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriation Act of 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has directed GSA to sell the Plum Island property 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 to move its operations from the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) to NBAF. That sale is now anticipated to occur no sooner than 2023.

Property Description

Plum Island is a fully self-sufficient property comprised of buildings, industrial facilities and equipment, roadways, utilities, specialized facilities, easements and rights of way. Additional assets on Plum Island include some 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 various transportation assets as well as a 9.5 acre facility to support PIADC operations at Orient Point, New York which includes buildings, utilities, and ferry docking facilities.The following three components make up the Plum Island property:

Plum Island

Containing approximately 840 acres, the island boasts sandy shoreline, beautiful views and a harbor strategically situated to provide easy access from the Orient Point facility or elsewhere. Architectural highlights include a lighthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Place built in 1869 along with buildings and battery stations constructed as part of Fort Terry, a military fort actively used during the buildup to the Spanish-American War and during World War I and World War II. Most of the other buildings and infrastructure on the island are of more modern design and development. Of particular note is a well-maintained 55,000 square foot glass and concrete administration building constructed in 1994. In addition to over 4 miles of existing paved roadway and 8 miles of gravel roadway, the island offers strength in its utility connections and capacity. Undersea cables transmit power and communications capability from Long Island to Plum Island, while an on-site power plant provides emergency back-up support. In addition to the foregoing, the island contains its own wastewater decontamination plant and extensive well water supply and distribution facilities.

Orient Point Support Facility

The Orient Point facility, located on the tip of the North Fork of Long Island, is comprised of approximately 9.5 acres and features its own harbor facility.

Personal Property & Transportation Assets

Although the extent of personal property to be included in the sale has yet to be finalized, it can be assumed that all ferries and certain vehicles presently used by the fire and safety units on the island will be included.

GSA and DHS, as joint lead agencies, have completed an environmental impact statement in order to satisfy their responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act. EPA Region 2 and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have participated as cooperating agencies in the NEPA process as defined by 40 CFR 1501.6.

Below you will find pertinent documents pertaining to the Sale of Plum Island, New York NEPA compliance.

Environmental Impact Statement

EIS Public Meetings

Scoping Meeting

Draft EIS Public Meeting

This page is reserved for posting historical documents that pertain to environmental conditions at Plum Island, NY. Documents dated from 2006 and later will be made compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 508 Compliant”) and posted to this page. Documents prior to 2006 have not been made Section 508 Compliant due to their age and condition. If you need assistance with the content of these pre-2006 documents, please email your request to the Science and Technology Directorate National Laboratories at S&T Nat Labs and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Documents whose file sizes are too large to upload at this time are also listed and will be available shortly.

After Action Reports (AAR)

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)

  • 2002 CERCLA Program Report Volume 1 through 4


New York State License & Permit Documents

Plum Island Lighthouse

Petroleum Storage Tanks

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

  • 1999 RCRA Closure Plan
  • 1999 RCRA Site Document Report & Appendices A through I
  • 2004 RCRA Phase II Closure Plan Volumes 1 through 3
  • 2006 RCRA Phase III Closure Plan Appendices

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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What is a Record of Decision?

A Record of Decision is the final step in the EIS process which formally documents the government's decision to proceed with the proposed actions - the sale of the property - having given consideration to all of the factors discovered and analyzed during the NEPA process.

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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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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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Where is GSA in the process of selling the Plum Island property?

The next step in the process is for GSA to work with DHS to complete ongoing efforts to comply with presale regulatory requirements such as assessing the effects the sale of property might have on resources listed or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and undertaking appropriate actions to ensure the property can be conveyed in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. Once the regulatory requirements have been met, GSA will proceed under the current law and begin to market the property for public sale.

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What is the timeframe for the sale of Plum Island?

GSA and DHS have yet to finalize any terms and conditions of sale. At current projections, subject to the availability of funds, construction of NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas, is estimated to be completed in 2020; at that time, the mission at PIADC will begin transitioning to the new facility, with the goal of completion by 2023.

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Last Reviewed: 2020-05-12