No NBAF in Kansas

Real Biosecurity for the Heartland

NRC Report Adds to Doubts About NBAF Safety

Posted by tmanney on December 3, 2010

More than two years ago the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) questioned the safety of doing Foot and Mouth Disease research on the U. S. mainland.  The motivated our opposition to the selection of Manhattan, or any other mainland location for the NBAF. It subsequently motivated Congress to require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct a Site Specific Risk Assessment (SSRA) and to have an independent evaluation of that Assessment to determine its adequacy and validity. That Assessment was conducted by a Committee of the National Research Council, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Science.

NBAF Risk Assessment Report

The text of the 146 page report can be purchased or read online at http://nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13031

We have abstracted the major findings here:

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

The committee evaluated the SSRA’s methods, facility design plans, and mitigation strategies. The committee found that the models used in performing the SSRA appear to be appropriate and that many of the SSRA’s general conclusions are valid. The SSRA has considered the major release pathways (aerosols, fomites, liquid waste, and solid waste), as recommended in the committee’s preliminary letter report (see Appendix B), and has addressed mitigation strategies for each. DHS has also appropriately responded to GAO’s prior criticism that it had inappropriately dealt with a potential plume from an airborne release of foot-and- mouth disease virus (FMDv); the SSRA uses a state-of-the-art puff dispersion model to simulate the aerosol transport of pathogens, which turned out to be a less critical pathway of FMDv spread than the near-site exposure of cattle. However, as described in the findings below, the committee found that the SSRA had several major shortcomings with respect to potential risks and impact scenarios, and there are some critical limitations in the SSRA’s execution and analysis.

The committee found that the SSRA has many legitimate conclusions, but the SSRA is not entirely adequate or valid. The SSRA does not account for the overall risks associated with operating the NBAF and conducting FMDv work in Manhattan, Kansas. The inputs and assumptions for the models are inadequate because they do not fully account for how a biosafety level 3 agriculture (BSL-3Ag) and BSL-4 facility would operate, how pathogens might be released, and which animal populations might be exposed. The SSRA sometimes used arbitrary assumptions and did not account for uncertainties, some of which require experimental data that are currently not available but that could greatly alter the outputs. Consequently, the committee is concerned about the validity of the actual risk and impact levels determined by the SSRA’s outcomes from the models.

Given more time, the SSRA may have progressed further and may have better addressed some of the concerns expressed in this report. The committee thus views this as a notable first step in an iterative process aimed at identifying and minimizing risk and determining actions that will need to be taken.

FINDINGS

The SSRA shows that constructing the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas, carries a number of risks and that the impact of an FMDv release could potentially have significant economic, health, and national security impacts. Some risks and impacts are generic to any high-containment large- animal facility, whereas others are specific to the Manhattan, Kansas, site. The risk of release is primarily a generic concern, whereas the risk of infection, spread, and impact is largely related to the site. The SSRA’s estimates indicate that the probability of an infection resulting from a laboratory release of FMDv from the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas approaches 70% over 50 years (see Figure 3-1) with an economic impact of $9-50 billion. The committee finds that the risks and costs could well be significantly higher than that, and elaborates on those findings below.

Finding 1: The SSRA lacks evidence to support the conclusion that the risk of release that results in infection is very low relative to the risk of infection introduced from an external source.

Finding 2: The SSRA overlooks some critical issues, both site-specific and non-site-specific, that could significantly elevate the risk of accidental release and spread of pathogens.

Finding 3: The SSRA has several methodological flaws related to dispersion modeling, tornado assessment, and epidemiological modeling. Thus the committee believes that questions remain about the validity of the overall risk estimates. Finding 3: The SSRA has several methodological flaws related to dispersion modeling, tornado assessment, and epidemiological modeling. Thus the committee believes that questions remain about the validity of the overall risk estimates.

Finding 4: The committee agrees with the SSRA’s conclusion that for FMDv, long-distance plume transport will likely be less important than the near-site exposure of cattle.

Finding 5: Substantial gaps in knowledge make predicting the course of an FMD outbreak very difficult, which led to weaknesses in the SSRA.

Finding 6: Although the economic modeling was conducted with appropriate methods, the epidemiological estimates used as inputs to the SSRA were flawed.

Finding 7: The committee agrees with the SSRA’s conclusion that early detection and rapid response can limit the impact of an FMDv release from the NBAF, but is concerned that the SSRA does not describe how the NBAF could rapidly detect such a release.

Finding 8: The SSRA lacks a comprehensive mitigation strategy developed with stakeholder input for addressing major issues related to a pathogen release. The mitigation strategies that are provided do not realistically demonstrate current or foreseen capacity for how federal, state, and local authorities would effectively respond to and control a pathogen release.

Finding 9: The committee agrees with the SSRA’s conclusion that human error will be the most likely cause of an accidental pathogen release, and fomite carriage is the most likely way that a pathogen would escape the facility’s outer biocontainment and biosecurity envelope.

Finding 10: The committee agrees with the SSRA’s conclusion that investment in biosafety and biosecurity engineering and the training of personnel and responders can reduce the risks, but is concerned about current design plans that potentially compromise safety measures.

Finding 11: The SSRA’s qualitative risk assessment of work with BSL-4 pathogens in large animals was inadequate.

ADDITIONAL REMARKS

The SSRA team should be applauded for its effort in conducting an extensive risk assessment in such a short period of time. Although the committee’s findings express major concerns about the validity of some of the SSRA’s conclusions, the work that was completed constitutes a huge step forward compared with previous risk assessments of its kind and should be viewed as a solid starting point.

The nation clearly needs an institution to support comprehensive research programs for the study of foreign animal and zoonotic diseases, including detection, diagnosis, and means of mitigation (drugs, vaccines, and genomic forensics). Such activities require a capability to work with all known threat agents (not just the eight infectious agents listed in the SSRA), multiple pathogen introductions, and emerging and unknown disease threats. For these reasons, the committee agrees that there is a need for a facility like the NBAF to be constructed and operated in the United States.

Constructing a BSL-3Ag and BSL-4 facility of the magnitude planned for the NBAF, one that is capable of large animal work on a scale greater than other high-containment laboratories, undoubtedly presents new and unknown risks that could not be accounted for in the SSRA because of a lack of data and experience. Given the constraints of the design framework and the short timeframe available for data collection and analysis, the committee finds that the limitations of the data, facility design details, and operating practices may have limited the scope that the SSRA could adequately address at this time. As more data, facility designs, and operational plans emerge, updated analyses may be appropriate to better evaluate the risks posed by a BSL-3Ag and BSL-4 large animal facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The SSRA and the committee identify some sources of risk that can be addressed as part of the design, preparation, and long-term operation of the NBAF to reduce risk wherever it is located. Though the SSRA and the committee offer several points for consideration to reduce the risk of a pathogen release and its consequences, further risk analysis is needed to determine the extent to which these measures would reduce risk. Ultimately, policymakers will need to decide whether the risks are acceptable related to constructing and operating the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas, and DHS will need to determine steps to minimize risk and impact if construction and operation should proceed as planned.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The SSRA team should be applauded for its effort in conducting an extensive risk assessment in such a short period of time. Although the committee’s findings express major concerns about the validity of some of the SSRA’s conclusions, the work that was completed constitutes a huge step forward compared with previous risk assessments of its kind and should be viewed as a solid starting point.

The nation clearly needs an institution to support comprehensive research programs for the study of foreign animal and zoonotic diseases, including detection, diagnosis, and means of mitigation (drugs, vaccines, and genomic forensics). Such activities require a capability to work with all known threat agents (not just the eight infectious agents listed in the SSRA), multiple pathogen introductions, and emerging and unknown disease threats. For these reasons, the committee agrees that there is a need for a facility like the NBAF to be constructed and operated in the United States.

Constructing a BSL-3Ag and BSL-4 facility of the magnitude planned for the NBAF, one that is capable of large animal work on a scale greater than other high-containment laboratories, undoubtedly presents new and unknown risks that could not be accounted for in the SSRA because of a lack of data and experience. Given the constraints of the design framework and the short timeframe available for data collection and analysis, the committee finds that the limitations of the data, facility design details, and operating practices may have limited the scope that the SSRA could adequately address at this time. As more data, facility designs, and operational plans emerge, updated analyses may be appropriate to better evaluate the risks posed by a BSL-3Ag and BSL-4 large animal facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The SSRA and the committee identify some sources of risk that can be addressed as part of the design, preparation, and long-term operation of the NBAF to reduce risk wherever it is located. Though the SSRA and the committee offer several points for consideration to reduce the risk of a pathogen release and its consequences, further risk analysis is needed to determine the extent to which these measures would reduce risk. Ultimately, policymakers will need to decide whether the risks are acceptable related to constructing and operating the NBAF in Manhattan, Kansas, and DHS will need to determine steps to minimize risk and impact if construction and operation should proceed as planned.

Posted in "site-specific biosafety and biosecurity risk assessment (SSRA) | Comments Off on NRC Report Adds to Doubts About NBAF Safety

No “credible information” from the DHS

Posted by Dale on December 15, 2009

Via Wikileaks I recently came across a Department of Homeland Security PowerPoint presentation that was inadvertently posted on November 22, 2007 and removed within days. It is unclassified information, but nonetheless provides some interesting insights into the thought processes prevalent in the DHS during the Bush administration (and perhaps still).

After scrolling through many slides on the risks to oil and gas facilities and military missions in Iraq (one sees here the nation’s priority when it comes to protecting the US from terrorists), one reaches on the 12th of 27 slides a discussion of threats to the “homeland.” At the 15th slide, the discussion turns toward risks to food and agriculture.

The first statement on the topic is

DHS lacks credible information to indicate planning for an attack against the Food and Agriculture sector, but continues to pay great attention to this threat

which seems to be something of a mild smoking gun with regard to NBAF. Much has been made by its supporters of the threat, which is typically described as imminent and real, while perhaps not using those terms. Is is really worth the expense and the risks to build an NBAF when even the DHS cannot present any credible information pointing to a threat?

Perhaps even more disturbingly, the next slide analyzes the danger represented by domestic “animal rights extremists” and “environmental extremists.” While I find the tactics of groups such as PETA and Greenpeace (and smaller groups with similar and perhaps more action-oriented agendas) off-putting, I think we have room in our nation to tolerate a bit of antisocial behavior. If they commit criminal acts, which some do, we have laws against such acts (theft, wanton destruction of property, disturbing the peace, etc.), so why the need to label them extremists and terrorists? Unless something has been hidden from the public, the only “extreme” domestic acts one reads about in the paper are fairly frequent shooter incidents and, of course, the Oklahoma City bombing, none of which have anything remotely to do with animal rights nor the environment.

This is, put simply, making enemies out of thin air. The mindset behind this slideshow frightens me, frankly, as a citizen of a democratic nation. I am not much of a conspiracy theorist, but if PETA et al. already rank as “terrorists” and “extremists,” who will be next?

Posted in >Department of Homeland Security (DHS), >Risks, Documents | 3 Comments »

Considering Reality at KSU NBAF

Posted by tmanney on September 11, 2009

#1  Placement of NBAF site BRI against KSU Football Stadium

BRI/NBAF Site across from KSU Stadium (right click for full image)

K-State Bio-Lab;

photos of vector animals across the street… downwind.

Kansas wind can carry aerosolized Foot and Mouth virus 30 miles. An infected hog can exhale 400 million viruses a day. It takes as few as 10 virus particles to infect an animal. Just a reality check, attached are seven pictures showing large numbers of vector animals within a  mile of  KSU’s NBAF site.

Imagine what would happen if an accidental release coincided with perhaps All University Open House or a KSU/Nebraska football game? How would you quarantine the surrounding area? An accident doesn’t have to happen on the hour but within the period of days before the release is recognized. With sheep that could be 10 to 15 days.

The KSU sheep pastures, used as overflow parking on game days, are just cattycorner from the proposed site. One of the several accidental FMD disease releases at Pirbright BSL-4 lab started when a tree root caused a leak in a lab sewer pipe and a truck carried contaminated mud to neighboring farms. KSU already has a $250 million backlog of deferred maintenance.

A tornado or for that matter, severe straight line winds don’t have to cause structural damage to disrupt the air pressure balance inside the lab. It only has to overwhelm the rubber air lock gaskets, or air filter seals around garage-size doors needed to bring in hay or other feed. Improbable as it may be, the prospect of an earthquake has the Corps of Engineers spending millions of dollars stabilizing Tuttle Creek Dam, a geologically insignificant distance from NBAF (Humboldt Fault Line <http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/projects/tcdam/documents/ks-legislature-report.pdf>

Ranchers in Riley and adjacent counties own about 450,000 livestock. Now picture the sheep pasture “parking lot” emptying, with KSU and Nebraska fans driving in all directions …back to their farms.

Government funded Project Crimson calculated that a release would reach 35 states in 10 days.

Bill Dorsett

1715 Leavenworth

Manhattan, KS

785/564-2583

#3  Sheep in KSU football overflow parking across corner from NBAF

KSU sheep pastures in football overflow cattycorner from NBAF (right click for full image)

#5  KSU Beef Cattle Research Center NBAF 1.5 miles background

KSU Beef Cattle Research Center, 1.5 miles from NBAF site (right click for full image)

#7  KSU beef swine and dairy research 1.5 mile to NBAF

KSU beef, swine and dairy research 1.5 miles downwind from NBAF site  (right click for full image)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Protest NBAF Germ Lab at Dept Homeland Security Sec Napolitano Visit

Posted by tmanney on February 9, 2009

This Tuesday, Feb. 10th, Secretary Napolitano of the Dept of Homeland Security will be visiting KSU’s Pat Roberts Hall talking about the importance of food security. We need to show that Manhattan’s support for the NBAF Germ Lab is not unanimous. We will gather at the entrance of Pat Roberts Hall across from the REC Center at 3:00 PM, expecting Gov Sebelious and Sec Napolitano to speak at 5:00 PM. Bring signs and banners expressing your disaproval.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Government Contacts Updated for New Administration

Posted by tmanney on February 9, 2009

Click on GOVERNMENT CONTACTS in menu bar above for contact info for Departments in Obama Administration.

Posted in Documents | Tagged: | Comments Off on Government Contacts Updated for New Administration

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.

Posted in >Department of Homeland Security (DHS), >Economic Impact | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Is a Germ Lab a Good Neighbor?

Posted by tmanney on September 19, 2008

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

National Coalition Joined in Statement on Biodefense Program

Posted by tmanney on September 17, 2008

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release

No NBAF in Kansas

P.O. Box 703
Manhattan, KS 66505-0703

Email: nonbafinkansas@gmail.com
September 18, 2008

 

CONTACT:             Tom Manney, Chair

                             Tel. 785-537-0624            

 National Coalition Issues Statement on Biodefense Program

Concerned citizen groups in 7 states, affected by 8 potential or existing federally-funded high containment “biodefense” labs have issued a joint statement expressing specific, local health, safety and environmental concerns about these labs existing in their midst.   Two current and one former candidate NBAF sites, including Manhattan, Kansas are among them.  The statement is being distributed to appropriate congressional oversight committees, and national and local media in the represented areas. 

 

Statement on the U.S. Biodefense Program

from Communities Living in its Shadow 

We, the undersigned, face the reality or prospect of federally-funded high containment “biodefense” labs being built and operated in our communities.  We all have specific, local health, safety and environmental concerns about these labs existing in our midst.  We represent citizen groups from around the U.S., united in our belief that the massive proliferation of “biodefense” laboratories creates a significant threat not just to our communities, but also to our nation, and to our world.  We join Biological Weapons Convention non-proliferation experts in concluding that we risk creating a biowarfare arms race with those who do not trust and cannot verify our intentions.  The proliferation of these labs makes us all less safe.

Since the August 2008 revelations about the 2001 anthrax letters originating from within the premier U.S. “biodefense” lab, it has become tragically clear that Congress must move quickly to investigate the nation’s “biodefense” programs. 

We have many concerns about the proliferation of bio-safety level 3 and 4 laboratories in federal complexes, and in the hundreds of poorly regulated academic and private sector laboratories around the country.  

·      In each of our communities, we have found that environmental impacts and hazards associated with these labs have not been analyzed with thoroughness, clarity and scientific rigor.  It is not possible to mitigate unacknowledged risks.  

·      Our experience is that State and local governments have not been well integrated into lab planning and operations.  

·      We are concerned about the threats associated with genetically modified pathogens and dual-use research.   

·      We are most concerned about supposedly low-probability” but “high-consequence” accidents that could result in a public health disaster. 

·      Now we also know that the possibility of internal sabotage is quite real.  We have been told officially that both the “weaponized” anthrax and the perpetrator of the only bio-terror attack in our history came from within the U.S. “biodefense” program.  

·      We are sobered by the fact that since the anthrax letter attacks, the number of workers in these labs has grown from a small number to over 16,000;  laboratory space has grown tenfold.   

·      Numerous laboratory accidents have been reported.  It is plain that many others go unreported, as demonstrated by the unreported accidents discovered by non-governmental watchdog groups.  

·      It has become clear that laboratory regulation and oversight are poor.   

·      Transparency has been lacking.  

·      The GAO and others, such as the Sunshine Project, report that safety programs and protocols are inadequate and have not been followed with consistency and rigor.  

Since 2001, “biodefense” funding has provided a $57 billion economic boon, much of it for the private sector.  “Biodefense” programs are spread among many federal departments, but are frequently duplicative and poorly coordinated.  We have seen no evidence of an integrated federal policy, still less one openly debated by Congress.   

Congress must investigate current research and development priorities, funding levels and research requirements in relation to verifiable threats to human and livestock health.   Our country needs a fact-based assessment of biological threats, both natural and man-made.  

 In 2005, more than 750 scientists, including Nobel Prize-winners, decried the diversion of funds to “biodefense” programs away from vital and pressing human health research of broad applicability.  

 We are aware that intense debate is taking place within the scientific community about whether or not much of the new “biodefense” research is relevant to or would be effective in protecting the population against a biological attack.  At the same time, funding has been cut for local preparedness against potential natural or lab-generated outbreaks.   These issues are equally present in the debates taking place about the enormous high-containment agricultural research laboratory complexes proposed for some of our communities. 

 The size and research agenda of the U.S. “biodefense” program has become out of control in the wake of the 2001 anthrax letters.  Who decided it was an acceptable risk to genetically re-create and work with the formerly extinct 1918 flu virus, no matter how interesting that research may be?  There are far too many comparable examples.  

We need a national moratorium on “biodefense” research and, simultaneously, a serious and transparent reevaluation of the big picture.  We need a great many more answers before our government pours yet more money into these programs and creates new public health risks and international strain.

Consistent with standard procedures for other federal science programs that pose potential threats to health and safety, we call upon our elected representatives to:

 ·      Conduct a thorough independent investigation of the executive policies that have driven the unprecedented expansion of “biodefense” research and development since 2001; and 

·      Call  an immediate halt to development of new “biodefense” facilities and an operational stand-down of existing programs until the many serious questions have been resolved,  including those related to:

       public safety, 

       biosafety and biosurety compliance,

       laboratory regulation,

       research focus,

       select agent use and control, 

       dual-use research,

       a right-sized program and

       appropriate locations for high containment laboratories.  

Signed September 17, 2008:

 

 

Organization

LAB

Boston Coalition to Stop the BioTerror Lab

Boston University, NEIDL;  BSL-4 and BSL-3 Labs (NIH)

Boston, MA

 

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Grafton, MA

BSL-3 labs, BSL-4 ready

(NIH)

Frederick Citizens for Bio-lab Safety

National Interagency Biodefense Campus, Fort Detrick;  BSL-4 and BSL-3 labs (USAMRIID, DHS, NIH)  Frederick, MD

 

Granville Non-Violent Action Team (GNAT)

 

NBAF, proposed site at Butner, North Carolina; BSL-4 and BSL-3 labs (DHS)

No NBAF in Kansas

NBAF, proposed site at Manhattan, Kansas, at Kansas State University; BSL-4 and BSL-3 labs (DHS)

Mid-Missouri Branch of WILPF,  (No NABAF in Columbia, MO)

University of MO, BSL-3 lab;  and formerly proposed site for NBAF, Columbia, MO  (NIH)

Tri-Valley Cares

BSL-3 facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA (DHS)

Labwatch – Seattle, WA

 

WWAMI Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease, Seattle, Washington, BSL-3 labs (NIH)

 

Posted in >Accidents, >Accountability, >National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF), >Oversight, >Proliferation, >Risks, >Transparency, Do Something! | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The Bigger Picture of Biosecurity

Posted by tmanney on September 11, 2008

Understanding Biodefense, Bioweapons Research

An Interview with Edward Hammond, Director of the U.S. Office of The Sunshine Project, an organization focusing on oversight of research involving biological weapons agents.

http://butnerblogspot.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/understanding-biodefense-bioweapons-research/

Sunshine Project Website: As of 1 February 2008, the Sunshine Project suspended its operations. Although their website is no longer updated, it remains online as an archive of their activities and publications from 2000 through 2008.

 

Sunshine Project: Welcome

Posted in >Accidents, >Accountability, >Department of Homeland Security (DHS), >Government Accountability Office (GAO), >National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF), >Plum island Laboratory, >Proliferation, Fact Check, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on The Bigger Picture of Biosecurity

Who wants this thing anyway?

Posted by Dale on September 5, 2008

It is hard to sit through hours of public commentary on a draft environmental impact statement, as I learned back in July when the DHS road show came to town. It’s even harder when most of the people speaking are just spouting boosterish rah-rah rhetoric.

To stave off boredom, I decided to keep a tally sheet, counting the number of speakers for and against. I also counted how many on each side were local and how they were dressed. The numbers should not be terribly surprising:

  • Speakers in favor: 32
  • Speakers opposed: 10

Of the 32 for:

  • From elsewhere: 19
  • Local: 13

The 32 for were dressed:

  • Suits: 31
  • Casual: 1

Of the 10 against, seven were local and nine of ten were dressed casually. From this casual sample (this was the afternoon session), I would draw the following conclusions. Large business interests from other Kansas cities want to make money, and the fact that they wear suits means they probably have an office job in a tower somewhere. People opposed nearly always come from the area (the three who were not local all live within 30-40 miles and own animals) and tend not to wear suits when they have something important to say.

Do we really want a facility that a bunch of suit-wearing CEOs and professional lobbyists think is a swell idea? When has that ever been a good idea?

I would also conclude from these numbers that the claim that this process has gone on largely under the radar is a correct assumption. Clearly, business interests have been contacted and made part of the process, but average citizens are still pretty much in the dark about what’s going on and their right to speak up. It was also not lost on me that the comment sessions were held in a K-State facility; even worse, a facility that has no proximal parking whatsoever. This was not coincidental, and amounts to bad faith or perhaps even an attempt at intimidation on the part of one of the NBAF’s biggest boosters, namely, the K-State administration. What employee in their right mind other than a tenured faculty member would stand in a university room and speak against the powers that be?

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »