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Preserve Plum Island for wildlife

To the left, an undated file photo provided

To the left, an undated file photo provided by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Plum Island. Pictured to the right is the Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island off of the east coast of Long Island. (Feb. 16, 2004) Credit: AP; Ed Betz

Turns out Lee Zeldin and Tim Bishop agreed on one thing: Plum Island should not be sold. We concur.

Zeldin, the Republican who won Bishop's congressional seat last year, has reintroduced his predecessor's bill to stop the sale of the 834-acre island. The federal government wants to use the proceeds of a sale to help foot the bill for a new animal and agricultural disease laboratory being built in Kansas. But a sale would bring a pittance of the $1.2 billion price tag for the new lab.

Plum Island needs a considerable environmental cleanup, and even then Southold's zoning bans residential development there and allows only research and conservation.

The largely undeveloped island is a unique environmental treasure containing endangered or threatened species. It should be preserved as a national wildlife refuge and remain in the public domain.