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OpinionLetters

Letter: President could save Plum Island

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) speaks at the Conservative

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, in National Harbor, Md, on March 8, 2014. He was in the New York State Senate at the time. Photo Credit: Evelyn Hockstein

Newsday and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) have taken a commonsense position on Plum Island that is truly in the public's best interest ["Save Plum Island for wildlife," Editorial, June 7].

Having recently visited the island, I can vouch that it is a national treasure. Standing on any of the windswept bluffs, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, I had an easy time imagining a national or state park with environmental camps for children, day visits for fishing and the beach, and tours for military and germ research aficionados.

As mentioned in the editorial, the sale price is likely to be minuscule in proportion to the cost of the new animal and agricultural disease laboratory in Kansas. Fiscal conservatives in Congress are also likely to be concerned about the future cost of maintaining the island as a park or wildlife refuge. This concern may be a significant roadblock to Zeldin's effort to stop the sale.

An alternative would be for President Barack Obama to use the Monuments Act to preserve the island. Future costs could be minimized by creating an endowment such as the one created by the Cutting family when it deeded the Bayard Cutting Arboretum to New York.

Richard Remmer, Oakdale

Editor's note: The writer is an environmental attorney and a board member of Parks and Trails New York and the Long Island State Parks Commission.

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