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In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to replace the old Plum Island Animal Disease Center off Long Island with a facility on the U.S. mainland to study Foot and Mouth Disease and other dangerous pathogens. Kansas won the job in 2008, with a site on the campus of Kansas State University in Manhattan.But today, more than three years later, the proposed $1.14 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility faces funding obstacles, safety questions, rising costs and political fallout. For Kansas and the Midwest, the stakes couldn’t be higher.Here you’ll find coverage and updates from Harvest Public Media, KCUR and Kansas Public Media.

Manhattan To Be Site For High Level Biosecurity Lab

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-816288.mp3

Manhattan, KS – The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known, is supposed to bring millions of dollars in economic development, hundreds of jobs and international prestige to Manhattan. A consortium of Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and a public-private "bioscience authority" wrote the proposal.

The Department of Homeland Security chose the Kansas proposal over four finalists from other states. Leading the effort were Senior Senator Pat Roberts, Governor Kathleen Sebelius and President of K-State, Jon Wefald.

Opposition -- ranchers, academics and citizens -- was late in getting organized, but eventually was outspoken in its concern about the risks of an accidental release of one of the deadly substances. Many objected to the study of Foot and Mouth Disease, the virus that afflicted cattle in Britain, in the heart of livestock country. It has been illegal to study the virus on U.S. soil before this time.

This story was produced for KC Currents. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents Podcast.

I partner with communities to uncover the ignored or misrepresented stories by listening and letting communities help identify and shape a narrative. My work brings new voices, sounds, and an authentic sense of place to our coverage of the Kansas City region. My goal is to tell stories on the radio, online, on social media and through face to face conversations that enhance civic dialogue and provide solutions. Email me at lauraz@kcur.org and follow me on Twitter @laurazig.
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