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State Leaders Question Proposed Plum Island Sale

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Plum Island (from Department of Homeland Security)

Plum Island (from Department of Homeland Security)

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (AP) _ Lawmakers and environmentalists are questioning a proposal by the federal government to sell Plum Island in Long Island Sound.

State Sen. Andrea Stillman of Waterford said at a public hearing on Wednesday that the federal government should leave Plum Island alone. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said any sale should include protections of the island’s ecosystem.

Several environmentalists say they’re concerned that selling the island would jeopardize endangered terns, seals and other wildlife on the island. Others say they worry about a potential loss of jobs if the lab is closed.

The island off the eastern tip of Long Island is home to the country’s only laboratory that studies infectious animal diseases that could affect the livestock industry. The Department of Homeland Security is opening a $1.14 billion laboratory in Kansas to replace the Plum Island facility.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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