NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Agriculture
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 May Get Boost As Government Report Says 'Sell Plum Island'

Plum_Island_Animal_Disease_Center.jpg
Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located off Long Island, was the first lab in the U.S. to study Foot & Mouth Disease and other dangerous pathogens. After 9/11, it was deemed "too old and decaying" to serve its purpose.

It could be good news for supporters of the NBAF,  the top-level biosecurity lab proposed for Manhattan, Kan.

In a released Friday, the General Services Administration supported the sale of Plum Island.  Plum Island, off the coast of New York,  is home to the only U.S. laboratory studying infectious diseases among large animals.

The report does not refer to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas. The proposed  NBAF is a Department of Homeland Security lab  designed to replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center.   

The GSA report may be linked to another study released last week by a committee of the National Academies of Science that found the Plum Island facility  inadequate to meet the needs of protecting the U.S. food supply.  The NRC report said no investment in the Plum Island lab could bring it up to necessary and safe standards.

There is no mention in today’s GSA report how much Plum Island should be sold for, or if any of the proceeds should be directed to the NBAF.

Plum Island was handed over from the Army to the Agriculture Department in the mid 1950s with the express purpose of studying Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle. FMD is a dangerously contagious virus that affects cloven-hooved (split-hooved) livestock such as cattle, pork and sheep.

Opponents of the NBAF and some objective experts have said building a lab to study Foot and Mouth Disease in the heart of cattle country is not wise.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with essential news and information.
Your donation today keeps local journalism strong.