No NBAF in Kansas

Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

FYI: National Bio and Agro Defense Facility

Posted by nonbafks on August 11, 2008

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 tasks the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a plan to provide safe, secure, and state-of-the-art agriculture biocontainment laboratories for the research and development of diagnostic capabilities for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. To partially meet these obligations, DHS has asked the Congress to appropriate funds to construct NBAF, a new facility. This facility would house high-containment laboratories able to handle the pathogens currently under investigation at PIADC, as well as other pathogens of interest.

DHS selected five potential sites for NBAF in July 2007 and must prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for each site.21 According to DHS, although not included in the competitive selection process, the DHS-owned PIADC will now be considered as a potential NBAF site, and DHS will also prepare an EIS for Plum Island. (See table 1.)

Table 1: Final Candidate Sites for the Proposed National Bio and Agro–Defense Facility

Candidate

Site

Department of Homeland Security

Plum Island, N.Y.

Georgia Consortium for Health and Agro-Security

University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

Gulf States Bio and Agro-Defense Consortium

Flora Industrial Park, Madison County, Miss.

Heartland Bio Agro Consortium

Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kans.

North Carolina Consortium for the NBAF

Umstead Research Farm, Granville County, N.C.

Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium

Texas Research Park, San Antonio, Tex.

 

Source: DHS, http://www.dhs.gov/xres/labs/gc_1184180641312.shtm, and 72 Federal Register (July 31, 2007): 41764.

DHS has asked for public comment on the selection process. Following completion of the environmental impact statements and public hearings, DHS expects to choose a site by October 2008 and to open NBAF in 2014. According to DHS officials, the final construction cost will depend on the site’s location and may exceed the currently projected $451 million. Additional expenses, such as equipping the new facility and relocating existing personnel and programs, may reach $100 million. DHS has not yet

21All federal agencies are required to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, 1142 U.S. Code §§ 4321–4347. Under the act, agencies evaluate the likely environmental effects of projects that could significantly affect the environment

 Source: Page 11 GAO-08-821T

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