Opinion

Opinion

Sham competition?

It is hoped that five finalists aren’t competing for a federal biosecurity laboratory that ends up going to a sixth player that wasn’t even supposed to be in the running.

September 3, 2007

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Maybe it's all part of standard government procedure, but after all the fanfare surrounding the site selection for a new federal biosecurity laboratory, it was a little stunning to learn that none of the five "finalists" might get the nod for the project.

A site at Kansas State University is one of the finalists for the National Agro- and Bio-Defense Facility, or NBAF. In July, the Department of Homeland Security, announced five finalists for the lab, and competition for the opportunity to replace the current lab on Plum Island in New York was launched.

During a public meeting to gather input on the project last week, however, Kansas officials learned that sometime after the five finalists were announced, a sixth option was added: refitting Plum Island and keeping the lab there.

This was a surprise - and, no doubt, a disappointment - to Kansas officials, who, like their counterparts in other states, have been pulling out all the stops to attract this project. NBAF was proposed to become the nation's first integrated animal and plant research center with the capability to handle human pathogens and would be a great economic driver in the field of biosciences.

Sites in Mississippi, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia were chosen by Homeland Security to advance to the next phase of the competition. The finalists all were told that they were vying to replace the Plum Island facility, which was constructed in 1954 and no longer met the nation's needs.

Now, however, federal officials have included Plum Island on a list of alternatives for the project and will include it in the environmental impact phase of the process. There also is a "no action" alternative, under which no new facility would be built.

A representative of Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said last week that the senator is confident that Plum Island will not be selected for the project. Perhaps keeping that site in the selection process is simply a formality or a courtesy, but it's a bit demoralizing to other sites that are working hard and spending considerable money on an effort to attract this facility to their states.

Of course, five laboratories won't be built; some states will be disappointed. But it's one thing to lose the project in a competitive process and something else to learn that all the finalists were competing for a prize that federal officials just decided not to award.

Comments

Richard Heckler 10 years, 2 months ago

Kansas is only two electoral college votes in the big picture which deems Kansas a bit less important. To expect Plum Island to set back and lose all that revenue and employment would probably be a bit naive. After reading this I am inclined to write this off to political rhetoric and betting the big experienced guns and New York electoral college votes will take the prize. Their senator presidential candidate with husband,from New York, are constantly in the headlines not to mention a bit more popular. Federal corporate welfare dollars are extremely popular. New York is far more important to all sides of the aisle.

Allow me to suggest that all Kansas representatives begin thinking outside the box and perhaps take a look at the supposedly upcoming booming blue collar gone green collar industries. Don't sit back and let that industry get sucked up when Kansans, both blue and white collars, would be happy to work within these industries.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

typical federal gov't b.s. they throw this n.y. stresser out there as a demoralizer. in the end, they'll probably just stay put so as to not look like they were being influenced when all along staying was their original intention. now they have all sorts of goodies from all of these states that they can throw back at new york to top. who likes to move anyway? but some gub'ment officials got some nice trips to take, and who knows, perhaps they got to visit some relatives.

this is my prediction, but i might be wrong.

oldgoof 10 years, 2 months ago

I'm not sure what the heck Richard was meaning above, but Plum Island will not stay there. The NY Senators do not want it there, nor does the citizenry want it there. The facilities would really need to be re-constructed from scratch..... which is much more expensive to do in NYC than the other locations.

bearded_gnome 10 years, 2 months ago

once again, proof that 'Merrill' is just software that spams the boards with incorrect facts and liberal spam! Kansas is only two electoral college votes in the big picture which deems Kansas a bit less important. To expect Plum Island to set back and lose all that revenue and employment would probably be a bit naive. After reading this I am inclined to write this off to political rhetoric and betting the big experienced guns and New York electoral college votes will take the prize. Their senator presidential candidate with husband,from New York, are constantly in the headlines not to mention a bit more popular. Federal corporate welfare dollars are extremely popular. New York is far more important to all sides of the aisle.

Kansas has 'two' electoral college votes. no state has 2 as that is impossible. yet again, Merrill you betray your basic ignorance and illiteracy when it comes to the real world and american civics. you who enobled the homicide bombers in Iraq as "heros" and "patriots."

it is impossible to have 2 votes because each state gets electoral college votes equal to the number of its senators (2) plus the number of its house districts (in kansas that' 4) so lets do the math, 2+4=6. I think only one or two states have the minimum of 3, being wyoming and perhaps alaska.


here in kansas would certainly seem an ideal location for such a lab and I hope it comes here.

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