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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.

K-State Says Proposed Funding For NBAF Is A Big Step Forward

courtesy photo
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

A U.S. Senate subcommittee has appropriated $300 million in funding for theNational Bio and Agro- Defense Facility, or NBAF, in Manhattan, Kan.

Ron Trewyn, vice president for research atKansas State University, says this week's appropriation for a top-security animal disease lab on Kansas State's campus will allow the Department Of Homeland Security lab be finished.

“The full price tag for the facility for all aspects is $1.25 billion. This $300 million will finalize (the project and allow us) to do the third part of the contract, which is for the lab itself,” Trewyn says.

The laboratory will have special features such as state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems, ventilation, and waste removal.  DHS and proponents  say the provisions enable the lab to safely research  exotic foreign animal diseases.  Structural elements of the building are designed to protect it from severe weather - this in response to a national review outlining possible risk from tornados.

Critics claim research on such contagious pathogens as Foot and Mouth Disease pose a risk to livestock. Also, opponents of the lab  argue there is a risk of human error that could cause the release of other deadly diseases.

The appropriation now goes before full Senate. 

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