Kardashians' plan to film on high-security Plum Island nixed by feds

From left, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Scott Disick From left, Khloé Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Scott Disick (Kourtney's boyfriend) and Khloé's friend Malika Haqq on the Fire Island Ferry on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Photo Credit: Khloé Kardashian via Instagram

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The Kardashians won't be taking Plum Island.

Producers of "Kourtney and Khloé Take the Hamptons," an E! network series, asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for permission to film on the island -- the site of a high-security animal disease research laboratory -- in July, federal officials confirmed.

Members of the public need background checks before visiting the island, located a mile off Orient Point. Homeland Security officials denied the application because producers made it only about a week before they wanted to shoot, and there wasn't enough time for the checks.

Kardashian representatives told officials they wanted to visit the site to add substance to the Hamptons-based show, said people familiar with the discussions.

Sisters Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian rented a house in North Sea, in Southampton Town, this summer as they filmed their series, set to debut Sept. 14.

Kardashian and E! representatives declined to comment Wednesday.

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There is precedent for shows shooting on the island. Homeland Security officials allowed History Channel's MonsterQuest to film a segment about the Montauk Monster legend on the island in 2008.

Homeland Security officials grant hundreds of visitors -- usually groups interested in the island's environmental and historical significance -- access each year, including about 500 so far in 2014.

"We do want to dispel the mythos," said John Verrico, a Homeland Security public affairs officer. "It's pretty popular and fun to have a conspiracy theory about a secret government lab on an island, but we want people to understand what exactly we do. We don't want people to be afraid of us."

Scientists at the island's Animal Disease Center work to protect livestock from illnesses such as foot-and-mouth disease, which is highly contagious among cattle, pigs and other hoofed animals. None of their work is secret, and all of it is published, Verrico said.

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