Home News Local News Environmental groups’ lawsuit to stop Plum Island sale moves forward

Environmental groups’ lawsuit to stop Plum Island sale moves forward

Aerial photo of Plum Island displayed at Rep. Lee Zeldin's press conference July 8, 2016 at which he announced legislation to halt the outright sale of the island.

A lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups to stop the sale of Plum Island is allowed to go forward.

U.S. District Court Judge Denis Hurley last week denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss the suit, brought by environmental organizations and activists seeking an injunction to prevent a sale of the island until a new environmental impact study is completed.

Save the Sound, Soundkeeper, Peconic Baykeeper and Group for the East End and three individual residents sued the U.S. General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security in July 2016 to stop the planned sale of the 840-acre island.

The plaintiffs charge that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal statutes in recommending the unconditional sale of Plum Island. Their complaint says the federal government’s environmental impact statement process was “fundamentally flawed.”

The defendants in February 2017 moved to dismiss the complaint.

In a 19-page decision filed Jan. 11, the court ruled that the plaintiffs have legal standing to bring the action and rejected each of the agencies’ arguments urging dismissal.

“We’ll now have the opportunity to present our full case to the court and ask that the sale of the island be halted until the agencies complete a proper environmental review in accordance with federal law,” said Roger Reynolds, Save the Sound’s chief legal officer.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter and editor, an attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a “writer of the year” award from the N.Y. Press Association in 2015. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website. Email Denise.