Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Move For Plum Island?

Mad scientist juxtapositions. Earlier I posted about multi-millionarie Dr. Venter's creation of life in the lab, and Berkeley's push for students giving their DNA  swabs to university scientists. Now Plum Island is in the news again; owned by the feds, the "Plum Island Animal Disease Center" is planning on moving from New York to Kansas. This move has Representative Tim Bishop fighting the move:
Tim Bishop said Monday he's written to the leaders of a House subcommittee on Homeland Security, saying he had "serious concerns" with the proposed sale.
Hearings on the sale, which could still be years away, are scheduled for Wednesday in Connecticut and Thursday on eastern Long Island.
Why Homeland Security? And what are the "serious concerns?"

The new proposed lab which, in a Fortean name-game context, will be moved to Manhattan, Kansas, and re-named the "National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility." "Agro defense...?"  Oh, this just gets stranger and stranger . . .

According to Speakers: Preserve Plum Island as habitat, people in the area want Plum Island to "preserved as a wildlife sanctuary and public recreation area rather than being sold to the highest bidder..." I'd be nervous about using that area for either of those things, given the history of the place. There are several conservation groups working to save Plum Island for those purposes. The area has:
been identified by state and federal environmental and wildlife agencies as one of the most important bird habitats in Long Island Sound,
Aside from the push to have Plum Island become a refuge, the loss of jobs in the area is another concern. If the lab moves, the area's economy will change and not for the better.

The article concludes with this understatement:
Also speaking at the meeting was Matthew Fritz, special assistant to Gov. M. Jodi Rell. He said the governor is concerned that too little is known about the type of work that went on at the lab to assess how the proposed sale and redevelopment would impact Connecticut, its coastal resources and development of an emergency response plan.[italics mine]

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