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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.

$714 Million For NBAF In Obama Budget

NBAF road sign.jpg
Bryan Thompson
/
Kansas Public Radio

President Obama's 2014 budget proposal includes $714 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.  It’s the state-of-the-art biosecurity lab planned for Manhattan, adjacent to Kansas State University. 

In response to the budget announcement, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback immediately pledged to work with lawmakers during the upcoming veto session to approve state bonds to help complete the lab.  The President is asking for an additional $202 million in state support for the project. 

Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran both say the biggest remaining hurdle is to get the $714 million dollar construction appropriation approved by Congress.  That may not be easy. 

In an interview last summer, Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Tara O’Toole expressed frustration with the process.

“The Secretary has said repeatedly that she believes the country needs NBAF,” said O’Toole. “When we have put money into our budget, it’s come back from Congress with only a fraction of what we’ve asked for.”

Federal officials only recently awarded a $40 million contract to build the central utilities plant for NBAF.

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