Kansas Senator criticizes NBAF project delay

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U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) prompted a call for action at a Senate committee hearing last week to approve funding for the new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

Moran called for the Department of Homeland Security to approve the land transfer for the project and release the $90 million earmarked for construction of the project near Kansas State University.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano agreed with Moran’s urgency. "I think it's necessary for the country, and I think it's time to fish or cut bait," Napolitano said according to The Topeka Capital-Journal.

Napolitano is eager to release $40 million earmarked for the project’s power plant and wants a meeting with Gov. Brownback or members of the Kansas congressional delegation to discuss future “cost shares” related to NBAF.

"I am encouraged with what we are hearing," Gov. Sam Brownback told the Associated Press last week. "Kansas stands ready to partner with the Department of Homeland Security to move this important national security priority forward."

Moran cited potential expiration of contracts which would require rebidding the project as a reason to move quickly. "When you say the time is now, it's not a matter of many months," he said. "It's a matter of a few weeks before this needs to happen."

Progress on the $1 billion project has been delayed since the site in Manhattan, Kan. was selected in 2008.

The expected completion date for the project has been pushed back to 2018.

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Texas  |  September, 28, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Help me. I wish the article would give some background on what this "project" is supposed to do for America.

Texas  |  September, 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Oh, I'm sorry...study hoof and mouth disease,etc, right in the middle of the nation. Might be cheaper, and safer, to send the experts to Africa, the Middle East, or South America.

A L    
Oklahoma  |  September, 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM

Amen brother. Amen brother. Foreign animal disease laboratory right in the middle of cattle country. Bad idea.

Tony Beane, DVM    
Canton, NY  |  September, 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM

There have been no problems with studying foreign animal diseases on Plum Island in New York. We have not had the release of any foreign animal disease organisms from the island throughout its history. Statistics have predicted that there is a good chance that there will be an accident at the site chosen in Kansas in the next 50 years. Let's see....keep it where it has been safe and secure or move it to tornado alley where even the government's statistics state there "will" be an accident and the release of a foreign animal disease.....not there "may" be an accident in time. I also agree, why put a lab like this in the middle of America's Agricultural heartland? Yes Plum Island is in the ocean off NYC, but it is an isolated island and while some of the organisms tested there may be zoonotic, most are not. Why are politics allowed to play such a significant part in our homeland security? I've written to Janet Napolitano about this before, but she is doing her job and will be long since retired or replaced by the powers that be when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.

September, 29, 2012 at 07:24 AM

Have you ever seen an outbreak of hoof & mouth? I have. You don't want ever want to. And in the middle of cattle country. As a biologist and cattle farmer this is one of the worse decisions ever made. And for what a few jobs and some government contracts. Scientists and technicians are just people, they can be just as arrogant, lazy, stupid and malicious as any other group. Have you forgotten the anthrax attacks? I am going to print out this comment and save it. Ten, fifteen, twenty years from now I'll dig it out and send it in again with a big "I told you so."

September, 29, 2012 at 07:33 AM

As an after thought. With hoof & mouth, it goes through the herd like a wildfire, the skin and flesh sloughs off the tongue and the calves, particularly the calves die because they can't nurse. Well you've been warned.

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