No NBAF in Kansas

Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

Decision pending?

Posted by Dale on November 23, 2008

Things have been quiet on the NBAF front of late. Other than a brief kerfuffle over Texas’ attempt to sweeten the deal by throwing more state money on the table, it’s really been a waiting game for the most part. As everyone likely knows by now, the final environmental impact statement should appear soon with a site recommendation. Thirty days after its appearance, the Department of Homeland Security, specifically Jay Cohen, can issue a final site selection.

As The Mercury helpfully pointed out the other day, this can only happen if the EIS is issued by December 21st, since Jay Cohen and the rest of the Bush appointees are out of a job on January 20th. What this means is that there will certainly be a pell mell rush to get the EIS out (meaning we’ll likely see as many glaring errors as we saw in the draft EIS) so that Cohen can make his selection.

Is it just me, or does this all seem simply ceremonial at this point? Can anyone really imagine that this monstrosity will move forward under an Obama administration? The whole war on terror, as we now know, is largely a ploy by the Bush administration to consolidate its power and enrich its groupies. Anyone who feels safer today than he or she did on September 10, 2001 is really living under the delusion that military might, applied indiscriminately, equals security. What we most certainly are today compared to then is a whole lot poorer as a nation.

Last I read, we’re something like $10 trillion in debt, are issuing checks to bank and auto dealers like it’s grand fun, and yet no one really seems to have a plan for stabilizing the economy other than some tired trickle-down shenanigans. We’ve also spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, something that has been consistently downplayed, not least in the recent election. These expenses will likely cripple our government for years to come. In that fiscal climate, coupled with the fact that someone was just elected president who is not beholden (at least not entirely) to the military industrial complex, do we seriously think that the federal government is going to drop what would likely end up being billions to build a lab of this nature, anywhere? Even if they wanted to proceed, the environmental lawsuits that will surely spring up regardless of the site selected will deter even the most convinced or co-opted government bureaucrat.

What amazes and truly disappoints me is that these financial considerations will likely be the downfall of the NBAF. That’s a comforting thought, but it remains puzzling to me why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to build such facilities in populated areas, and in the case of Manhattan, within a stone’s throw of at least three existing or planned daycare facilities. That would seem to require a margin of error of absolute zero, something even the most pro-NBAF scientists cannot claim to be a realizable goal.

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One Response to “Decision pending?”

  1. Suzanne Moody Smith said

    Jay Cohen is the “decider” for the location of this lab, if they manage to throw together a final EIS by the deadline.

    Or is he.

    Unfortunately for my life expectancy, the Good Lord gave me an inquisitive mind and a love for a good book. When my curiosity was tweaked at the scoping meeting in Granville County, my home, I began reading. The book on Plum Island led me to books on bioweapons. The DEIS confirmed my worst fears. Viruses (called “reagents” in the DEIS) will be produced in volumes of 30 to 50 liters. This is so far above the minuscule amounts needed for research that it can only be called biological weapons production. You’ve heard of that. That’s what we’ve been killing Iraqis by the hundreds of thousands for…. oh, that’s right, they weren’t doing it. Great big OOPS there.

    Getting back to my life expectancy, the bulldozers will have to roll over my protesting body in order to build this facility in Granville County USA. I informed them of this fact at their meeting in DC, and again at the meeting in Butner. I was not alone in my resolve.

    So, does Jay get to decide whether we sell our immortal souls, or do we stop the NBAF?

    Use the power of protest while we still have it.

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