H.R. 1887, to authorize the Comptroller General to assess a study on the alternatives for the disposition of Plum Island Animal Disease Center and for other purposes

H.R. 1887

to authorize the Comptroller General to assess a study on the alternatives for the disposition of Plum Island Animal Disease Center and for other purposes

Sponsor
Rep. Lee Zeldin

Date
May 16, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 16, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 1887, to authorize the Comptroller General to assess a study on the alternatives for the disposition of Plum Island Animal Disease Center, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 1887 was introduced on April 16, 2015 by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Committee ordered the bill reported, as amended, by unanimous consent on April 28, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1887 amends the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 to suspend provisions providing for the sale of federal property and assets supporting the Department of Homeland Security’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York until certain reports are completed. Specifically, the Comptroller General of the United States shall assess the study currently underway by the Department of Homeland Security on clean up and alternative uses of Plum Island. The Comptroller General is required to examine the Department’s methodologies and findings regarding possible alternative uses for Plum Island, potential costs related to transition and cleanup by a new recipient, and any issues and implications for such alternative uses.  If the Comptroller General determines the methodologies used by the Department of Homeland Security do not adequately support the Department of Homeland Security’s findings, the Government Accountability Office shall conduct its own study.

Background

Plum Island Animal Disease Center has served as the nation’s premier defense against accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases since 1954. The laboratory is the only facility in the nation permitted to work with live foot-and-mouth disease viruses.[1]  In 2009, a new National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) was approved to be built in Manhattan, Kansas, eventually resulting in the transfer all of the scientific research on infectious animal-borne illnesses from Plum Island to the new NBAF.[2]  Since then, the Department of Homeland Security has undertaken a study to consider alternatives for the island laboratory.  The Department is currently examining conservation of the island’s resources, remediation responsibilities, any need for legislative changes, cost, and revenues from alternative uses.

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[1] See “Plum Island Animal Disease Center”
[2] See “National Biodefense Lab Approved for Kansas” January 2009.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.

 

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.