By 2002, Congress was already questioning the expense of maintaining Plum Island as a “Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory,” but suggestions about upgrading it to Level 4 were rankling North Fork residents who feared the upgrade would endanger them.
An upgraded lab would mean the introduction of pathogens involving diseases for which there are no known cures.
The legislative debate eventually led to a 2008 decision to close the Animal Disease Center and sell Plum Island.
In 2009, Manhattan, Kansas, located near a number of other facilities the government uses for research, was selected for the new facility, but with the floundering economy, money wasn’t available for construction.
By 2013, with plans still on the books to decommission Plum Island, the Southold Town Board implemented zoning restrictions that would affect any future uses, including the possibility of a developer putting large houses there or Donald Trump developing a golf resort on the island. Shelter Islander Bill