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DRAFT Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Plum Island Animal Disease Center Undersea Cable Installation

DHS S&T prepared this Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (Draft FONSI) to evaluate the potential impacts to the human and natural environment relating to the abandonment in place of an existing undersea utility cable and the installation of a new undersea utility cable between Orient Point, NY, and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) on Plum Island, NY, located 1.5 miles northeast of Orient Point (Proposed Action). 

Plum Island currently receives electrical and fiber optic communications capabilities through two existing undersea cables connecting Orient Point and Plum Island. DHS requires continued electrical and communication capabilities on Plum Island during normal operation and throughout the duration of planned PIADC closure activities. DHS S&T conducted an inspection of the undersea cables’ conditions in 2022. The inspection revealed the oldest of the two cables, M1, has gone beyond its expected lifespan. The cable is wearing down and putting it at risk of not working properly. Also, the island does not have back-up communication measures. Therefore, the purpose of the Proposed Action is to replace one of the existing cables (M1 or M2) with a new undersea cable to supply Plum Island with mission-critical electrical and communication capabilities. 

The Proposed Action is needed to prevent any adverse effects that a potential loss of electrical or communication services may have on required operations at PIADC. The Draft EA evaluates the potential environmental, cultural, and socioeconomic consequences associated with DHS S&T’s proposal to abandon an existing undersea cable and install a new electric/fiber optic cable between Orient Point and Plum Island. The evaluation performed within this Draft EA concludes there would be no significant adverse impact to the environment or quality of life because of implementing the Proposed Action, provided routine best management practices specified in the EA are implemented. 

DHS S&T is soliciting public comments on the Draft EA and Draft FONSI, which is available for a 30-day public comment period from January 25, 2024, through February 24, 2024. Printed copies of the Draft EA are available at the Floyd Memorial Library at 539 1st Street, Greenport, New York 11944, and the Southold Free Library at 53705 Main Road, Southold, New York 11971 for public review. Comments on the Draft EA should be submitted during the 30-day comment period via email at: PlumIslandUnderseaCable@st.dhs.gov.

Attachment Ext. Size Date
Plum Island Cable Environmental Assessment: Undersea Cable Installation PDF 26.09 MB 01/23/2024
Plum Island Cable Draft: FONSI and FONPA PDF 171.91 KB 01/23/2024
Plum Island Cable Notice of Availability To DHS PDF 63.49 KB 01/24/2024
Last Updated: 01/25/2024
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