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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.

NBAF Closes In On Federal Funding

A rendering of the proposed NBAF facility in Manhattan, Kan.
A rendering of the proposed NBAF facility in Manhattan, Kan.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) got one step closer to Congressional funding yesterday.

The full House Appropriations Committee approved $75 million in the fiscal year 2013 budget put forward by the Department of Homeland Security subcommittee.

The full Committee also tapped $90 million in funding from fiscal years 2011 and 2012 that had been on hold, possibly bringing the House commitment to construction of the NBAF to $165 million.

At the same time, the committee said it wanted to see a plan for how DHS expects to spend the money as construction moves forward. The estimated cost of the NBAF has escalated to $1.1 billion.

Earlier this year, the White House zeroed construction funds in its fiscal year 2013 budget in the wake of safety and security questions about the high-level lab.

A updated safety report is currently under review by a panel of experts with the National Research Council. A separate NRC panel is simultaneously reviewing alternatives for the NBAF, including a scaled-down version of the lab and maintaining the existing lab on Plum Island, New York.

The recommendation by the Appropriations Committee will come before the full House in a few weeks.

For more NBAF coverage, visit KCUR's Tracking NBAF page.

Harvest Public Media, based at KCUR, is a collaborative public media project that reports on important agriculture issues in the Midwest. Funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Harvest Public Media has reporters at six NPR member stations in the region. To learn more, visit www.harvestpublicmedia.org, likeHarvestPublic Media on Facebook or follow @HarvestPM on Twitter.

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.
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