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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 Final Site For High Level Biosecurity Lab

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-816717.mp3

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, Kan.

A consortium of Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and a public-private "bioscience authority" wrote the proposal for the facility's location. The Department of Homeland Security chose the Kansas proposal over four finalists from other states.

Leading the effort were Sen. Pat Roberts, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and President of K-State, Jon Wefald.

Opposition including ranchers, academics, and citizens, was late in getting organized but was eventually 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.

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.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
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