Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Biodefense lab draws high level of support

Many at meeting say K-State perfect fit for federal facility

August 29, 2007


Audio Clips
Bio- and Agro-Defense facility discussed

— More than 250 people gathered Tuesday at a public hearing on a proposed $450 million Homeland Security biodefense laboratory that could be built in Kansas.

Most expressed support for the project, while some opposed it and others sought more information.

"No matter where it is built, it will be safe and secure," said James Johnson, Homeland Security's program manager of the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Laboratory, or NBAF.

But Sylvia Beeman, a resident of Manhattan for 30 years, raised questions about the safety of transporting viruses to the lab, while others wondered whether the lab would make Manhattan a target for terrorists. Johnson said the lab would not raise the threat of terrorism in the area.

"You're asking us to take everything on faith," Beeman said. She noted that the federal government told the residents of New Orleans that their levees were safe prior to the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.

But many spoke in support of the lab as necessary for national defense, and that Kansas State University would be a perfect spot for it.

"There really is broad support for your proposal," said Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who led a procession of Democratic and Republican officials speaking in favor of the proposal.

The public hearing was conducted by Homeland Security as part of that agency's assessment of the K-State location, which is one of six proposed sites across the nation.

The other sites still in the running are San Antonio; Madison County, Miss.; Athens, Ga.; and Granville County, N.C. Plum Island, N.Y., which is home to the current Homeland Security lab, is also considered an alternative, officials said, although it would have to be upgraded.

For an hour before the hearing, Homeland Security officials, scientists and consultants met one-on-one with those attending the hearing to answer questions and provide information.

The lab will be a top-security facility where scientists will conduct research on plant and animal diseases, including those that could affect humans.

K-State has offered Homeland Security the use of its new bioresearch lab while the federal government build the 500,000-square-foot NBAF.

Jerry Stack, director of the new bio lab at K-State, said NBAF was needed to help combat potential biological threats.

In today's global society, "The opportunity for new pathogens is great and the rate at which they can travel is frightening," Stack said.


dirkleisure 10 years, 8 months ago

I am all for it, mainly just to get under logrithmic's skin.

Maybe logrithmic can post some more and try to convince me?

mick 10 years, 8 months ago

"It will be safe and secure." Like the lab in England that let hoof and mouth disease out earlier this month?

Confrontation 10 years, 8 months ago

Doesn't ManCrappin have more important things to worry about? Such as: cowboys wearing jeans that are too tight and football fans who lack basic knowledge of physics

not_dolph 10 years, 8 months ago

So you are in favor of the Manhattan location, logrithmic?

oldgoof 10 years, 8 months ago

Eight consecutive posts from a single user, like Logarithmics here, should be prohibited. Give him and others (you know who you are) space on a server and let him publish their lengthy papers and link them here. And it would make the forum much more readable.

not_dolph 10 years, 8 months ago

log said - "But no one was posting about this serious development."

You are correct, this is a serious development and I thought Rothschild did a pretty good job on this. This "serious development" means more jobs (think construction, technical support, high-end researchers), major investment in Kansas infrastructure, benefits to KU, KU Med, Hutch CC, Colby CC, just to name a few.

log further stated - "I was hoping some farmers might enter the fray."

Considering the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Farm Bureau - two major groups who speak for most of the ag community in Kansas are huge supporters of this initative, I don't think you will see them opposing. Farmers know that this is a good thing for them as well...unless you mean the "Douglas County Type" of farmer...then we may be talking about a whole different pot - so to speak.

clyde_never_barks 10 years, 8 months ago

I might suggest that you really can't compare a 50 year old facility (Plum Island) to a new state of the art facility (wherever it will be) with respect to containment, safety, disposal, etc. No one was thinking about those things, nor did they have a reason to half-a-century ago.

I am not afraid. Besides, we have a good example just to south of us anyhow with Wolf Creek. Similar discussion, different poison.

oldgoof 10 years, 8 months ago

Log says he was "hoping for some farmers to enter the fray." He then quickly dismisses the positions of the Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Kansas Livestock Association, both organizations notorious for highly member-driven agendas as "a couple of trade associations." . . . I am laughing so hard I might have to call the ambulance.

I stand by my earlier statement that Log and posters like him clutter up these forums so much and they should have a throttle applied to them by some LJW forum rules. Give them some internet etch-a-sketch space on the internet, or a box to stand on at 8th and Massachusetts to propound from.

riverdrifter 10 years, 8 months ago

Dime to a dog turd sez it goes to Texas.


not_dolph 10 years, 8 months ago

Drifter - I think you may be correct.

Log - clearly you have never worked with those two groups.

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