US govt's bioweapon and animal disease R&D island up for sale

For more than 50 years, Plum Island, off the eastern end of Long Island's North Fork coast, has been home to the US government's Animal Disease Center. The government is opening a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas, and so the lovely little island is up for sale. On the island, scientists have studied a variety of hardcore pathogens, from anthrax to foot-and-mouth disease. It was also ground zero for biological weapons testing and development during the Cold War, leading to much intrigue, conspiracies, and fiction set there. Now, environmental groups hope to turn Plum Island into a nature preserve. From the Associated Press:

PlumislalalalalalalaSeveral speakers at the hearing also said they preferred the island be retained as a nature preserve, including a representative of the Audubon Society, who urged a thorough study of the bird population...

Besides the laboratory, the island is home to a defunct U.S. Army base and a charming little lighthouse that looks out onto Long Island Sound. And, as fictional FBI Agent Clarice Starling told "Silence of the Lambs" villain Hannibal Lecter: "There's a very, very nice beach...."

Gary DePersia, a top real estate broker in the Hamptons on Long Island's south fork, said the possibilities for the island are nearly unlimited. "It could make an awesome resort, with condos and room for a golf course," DePersia said.

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