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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.

Kan. Senate Gives First Round Approval For Additional NBAF Funds

Laura Ziegler

Kansas Senators Tuesday gave first round approval for new spending in support of a controversial federal animal disease lab Manhattan.

Some Democrats as well as some in Gov. Brownback’s own party have questioned whether the state should commit an additional $202 million in bonds, on top of $145 million already spent in support of the federal lab.

Doubters in the legislature worry the state will be on the hook for cost overruns as the project continues.

Already since Kansas won the highly coveted Department of Homeland Security lab it’s cost has doubled to $1.2 billion.

The Governor’s office says the economic development benefits of the lab justify the expense, and there is language in Tuesday’s bill that limits the financial liability of Kansas taxpayers.

The Senate will vote on whether to give final approval of the bill Wednesday morning. The House will vote on the bonds as part of an Omnibus appropriations bill.

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