Correction: Oops my bad, Blumenthal is Connecticut’s AG not NY.
Attorney General fights proposed Plum Island lab that would study deadliest animal and human diseases
By Attorney General’s office
Aug 14, 2008
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today announced that his office is preparing formal comments to fight a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposal to develop a Level 4 research lab — involving the study of some of the deadliest biological threats to humans — on Plum Island.
The DHS acknowledges in its own draft environmental impact statement that the proposed Level 4 facility would deal with “microorganisms that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease and for which there is no known vaccine or therapy.” vows
Plum Island, located about eight miles off the Connecticut shore, now operates as a Level 3 facility involving the study of only animal to animal pathogens. A Level 4 designation, the most secure, would allow scientists to study more deadly diseases that can be passed on to humans.
The DHS has identified Plum Island as one of six potential sites for the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
“I will fight this proposed Plum Island expansion — involving insidious and deadly diseases that have no known cures, nearly eight miles off Connecticut’s shore in the midst of environmentally precious and highly populated areas,” Blumenthal said. “This vastly heightened risk level poses unacceptable costs and dangers. The cost of police and fire safety may be borne by local governments. Dire public health dangers of leaks or terrorist attacks make this site clearly and completely unacceptable. A Level 4 facility would make Plum Island, and surrounding areas on both sides of the Sound, a prime terrorist target.
“Connecticut has close and personal experience with pernicious diseases transmitted by animals to humans such as anthrax and Lyme — all the more reason to challenge this proposed vast expansion.
“Both sides of the Sound should join forces, as we did with Broadwater, in fighting this environmental and security threat. Our next step will be to file formal comments on the draft environmental impact statement, urging that it be sited elsewhere.”