Breezy, secluded lair for an evil scientist, or professional couple. Pets OK!
The federal government will study the potential environmental impacts of selling Plum Island to a private owner for redevelopment or keeping the 840-acre island in federal hands after the research lab for highly infectious animal diseases is moved to Manhattan, Kan.
In a notice published Thursday in the Federal Register, the General Services Administration announced that it would undertake an Environmental Impact Statement to guide the anticipated sale of Plum Island and a 9.5-acre support facility in Orient Point, N.Y.
The island, located in Long Island Sound about 1.5 miles from Orient Point, has been the site of the high-security Plum Island Animal Disease Center since 1954. It is the only national lab for research into foot-and-mouth virus, which is highly contagious to livestock, as well as classical swine fever, vesicular stomatitis virus and foreign animal diseases. It was run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture until 2003, when it was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security.
Paula Santangelo, spokeswoman for the General Services Administration, said the labs at the facility are still operating at full capacity. The Homeland Security Department states on its Web site that the target date for the opening of the Kansas lab is 2014.