Long Island News

Donald Trump considers buying Plum Island

Tuesday, October 01, 2013
plum island

FILE - In this undated photo released by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Plum Island, off the northern shore of New York's Long Island, is seen. Despite environmentalists concerns about the legacy of studies on dangerous animal diseases and top-secret Army germ warfare research, authorities have removed vast amounts of waste and contaminants from Plum Island. The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to sell the 840-acre pork chop-shaped island off northeastern Long Island and build a new laboratory to study dangerous animal diseases in Kansas. (AP Photo / AP Photo/USDA-ARS, File)

Donald Trump is thinking about adding an island to his already flashy portfolio.

The real estate mogul and TV reality star said Tuesday he's considering purchasing New York's Plum Island, but has yet to make a final decision.

"I'd be interested in looking at it," Trump told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It is a very complicated subject and nobody knows what is going to happen."

The 843 acres off the coast of Long Island house a laboratory that studies infectious animal diseases that could imperil the nation's livestock industry. Congress voted in 2009 to close the aging lab, which opened in 1954, and build a new one in Manhattan, Kan.

The General Services Administration is overseeing the proposed sale of the island to defray the costs of constructing the new facility; there has been no estimate of what the island could fetch at auction.

Trump said he has yet to consider exactly what he might do with the property.

"We would do something, but it would not be on a big scale," Trump said. "We would look at it and come up with something appropriate."

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined a growing number of elected officials in New York and Connecticut expressing doubts about a planned sale. Cuomo is calling for a thorough environmental review of conditions on the island, specifically citing concerns about potential groundwater pollution.

"Before the sale of Plum Island can continue, Washington must step up and sign a legally binding consent order spelling out its full plan for cleaning up the Island and giving the state oversight authority to make sure the work has been done properly," Cuomo said in a statement.

Additionally, several members of Congress from the region have introduced legislation that would overturn plans to sell the island. Even if it were sold, the town of Southold has passed zoning laws that would severely limit development of the property.

In addition to a high-tech lab that studies foot-and-mouth disease and other illnesses dangerous to cattle and pigs, the island includes a defunct U.S. Army base and a lighthouse.

Trump has numerous properties, including luxury hotels and other holdings in New York City, Chicago and Las Vegas.

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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