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Plum Island (Creepy Animal Research Lab and Would-Be Hannibal Lecter Beach) Lives On

Plum Island–New York’s answer to Area 51–will live on a bit longer. The secretive federal animal research lab off the north fork of Long Island got a bit of a reprieve when Congress decided not to fund its replacement in Kansas, the Suffolk Times reports.

The clandestine, off-limits island, once the home of classified bio-weapons testing, is the kind of place only a Dick Cheney could love. Well, him and Hannibal Lecter; the Silence of the Lambs serial killer is offered a week’s annual vacation at the island lab. “Charming,” he says, but later refers to it as “Anthrax Island.”

The whole range of research done there may never be quite public, but it has worried mainland locals, especially after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and a hurricane power outage (since the island holds stores of some pretty nasty diseases.) Lab 257 (named after the main building), a book by Michael Carroll, claimed secretive, shoddy work at the lab was tied to the original lyme disease and other outbreaks, which the military shrugged off as “fringe” theories. Most of the interest is probably because we can’t visit. But we can see the complex from Orient Point or the ferry to Connecticut.

The problem with the lab now is that some think it’s too small to handle modern work and that hoof and mouth program should move to Kansas. But the GAO isn’t too sure about moving the lab to the mainland, especially the middle of livestock country.

Speculation on what would happen after it closed, center on safer more boring kinds of green energy labs, a wind farm or luxury properties, according to the Times. I’d rather see it as a wildlife refuge, but if it follows the path of the decommissioned Governor’s Island, it’ll pretty much do nothing for a long time while debate plans.

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