Archive for Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kansas site top recommendation for NBAF site

It looks like Kansas will be home to a new $450 million agro- and bio-defense facility.

December 3, 2008, 10:10 a.m. Updated December 3, 2008, 3:03 p.m.



• In 2005, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security proposes construction and operation of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to increase animal disease research capabilities.

• January 2006 — DHS solicits NBAF site proposals and receives 29 applicants.

• December 2006 — DHS whittles down the number of potential sites to 18, including Manhattan and Leavenworth.

• Feb. 2007 — U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., addresses joint session of Legislature urging backing of NBAF effort.

• July 2007 — Manhattan is among the six finalists, but Leavenworth is cut.

• March 2008 — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signs law authorizing $105 million in bonds for NBAF project.

• December 2008 — DHS recommends Manhattan site.

— A $450 million federal lab dedicated to protecting the United States from disease outbreaks and bioterrorist attacks should be built in Manhattan, Kan., according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The release of the draft report Wednesday was hailed by Kansas officials who have been waging an intense competition with other states to win what is called the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility or NBAF.

“Manhattan, Kansas State University and the state of Kansas have proven that we are the nation’s leaders in plant and animal research and industry, and I am proud of the role Kansas will continue to play in agriculture security and innovation,” said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who started the effort to land the facility. “This NBAF will protect and build the state’s agriculture economy for decades to come and further expand our national leadership in the biosciences.”

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, described the selection by DHS as “an early Christmas gift” for Kansas.

But the deal isn’t done yet.

The choice won’t become final until after a 30-day period for comments on the decision, which could face legal challenges from losing states. Other finalist sites were Flora, Miss.; Athens, Ga.; Butner, N.C.; and San Antonio.

Texas officials already are fuming.

“We’re going to be right up in their face,” York Duncan, president of Texas Research Park, which was one of the finalists, told the San Antonio Express-News.

“We have decided to pull all the stops out, and we’re going to exploit every opportunity to steer this to San Antonio,” he said.

The new lab would replace an aging facility on Plum Island, N.Y.

Under the DHS proposal, the lab would be used primarily to protect against animal diseases by conducting research on deadly pathogens, such as foot and mouth disease, Rift Valley fever and Hendra and Nipah viruses.

Construction, which would take about four years, could start in 2010.

The facility is expected to require 1,500 construction jobs. Once completed, it is expected the facility would employ 300 people, with an annual payroll of $25 million to $30 million.

In its Environmental Impact Statement, DHS said the Manhattan, Kan., site was preferred because of many factors, including cost.

The site’s strengths included:

• Proximity to KSU and existing research capabilities.

• Workforce “relevant to the NBAF mission” because of the link to the KSU College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Bioscience Research Institute.

• Support of local, state and federal officials.

• “In-kind” contributions from the state. The Kansas Legislature and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius approved a $105 million bond package to develop the project.

• Environmental impacts fell in the “no impacts to minor impacts” category.

• Threat of pathogen release were comparable to other proposed sites.

The bottom line, according to the report: “The Manhattan campus was among the least expensive to construct and had the lowest planned operation costs of all the site alternatives.”

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who also served on the task force that worked on landing NBAF, said he was “thrilled” by the news that it was going to Kansas State University.

“The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be a major economic asset to our state and will boost bioscience research throughout the region, including at KU,” he said.

House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said the selection of Kansas reflects the state’s position as a leader in animal science, and he said the project will help the economy.

“It’s clear we’re going to need all the help we can get, and not only will this boost the economy of that region, but really the entire state. There’s a number of important industries involved in this project and each of them are going to see major benefits,” he said.


gdsacco 9 years, 5 months ago

Wait, what is the NBAF, is that like the WNBA?

BigPrune 9 years, 5 months ago

I'll believe it when I see it. I still say New York will come out on top, because this is the way the Federal Government typically operates.

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 5 months ago

Don't come cryin' to me when your cows and crops die! Seriously though, speaking as a scientist, I think it will be a really good thing from an employment and economic point of view, provided nothing goes wrong

persevering_gal 9 years, 5 months ago

gdsacco - lol, I was thinking the same thing.

SpeedRacer 9 years, 5 months ago

"The new lab would replace an aging facility on Plum Island, N.Y."In the novel The Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling promises Hannibal Lecter an annual trip to Plum Island. He replies, "Anthrax Island?"

nobody1793 9 years, 5 months ago

"...provided nothing goes wrong"So if K-Staters turn into flesh-eating zombies, will we even notice?Unnnnnhhh...braaiiinnnss....

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 5 months ago

Ha! You're right. Maybe it will even be an improvement for them.

KansasVoter 9 years, 5 months ago

Hopefully this is true, because our state NEEDS some good employment news.

jaywalker 9 years, 5 months ago

Relax, rodentgirl. Atlanta never seems to have a problem with rampant virus 'escapes' from the CDC. It's nothing but a good thing.

ralphralph 9 years, 5 months ago

Not gonna happen.A groundbreaking with Obama, Pelosi, and ... Brownback?Not gonna happen.

Danielle Brunin 9 years, 5 months ago

jaywalker,I'm not really worried, but it's always a good idea to be cautious. (Remember the ebola incident in Maryland? Not rampant by any means, but stuff happens.) This is, however, wonderful employment news for many scientists I know that don't wish to work in state government.

hujiko 9 years, 5 months ago

If you are so worried, then why are you living in Lawrence? Look at KU's research facility before you worry about such a minimal risk ever occurring, this is a good thing to come to Kansas in light of the slump we are in.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 5 months ago

This is great news at a time when we needed some.

Shane Garrett 9 years, 5 months ago

30 million for 300 people? Where do I sign up for a 100,000 a year job?

nobody1793 9 years, 5 months ago

"30 million for 300 people? Where do I sign up for a 100,000 a year job?"It's the little booth just past where they hand out the Microbiology PhD diplomas...

justaverage 9 years, 5 months ago

How is the U.S. Government paying for this, borrowed money from China?

63BC 9 years, 5 months ago

Base Realignment and Closure---huge win for KansasBoeing Tanker Contract---re bid to give Kansas a fair shakeNBAF---looks like it's coming to Kansas.How 'bout some tips of the cap to our Congressional Delegation?They're getting it done.

tolawdjk 9 years, 5 months ago

Jokes of hoof and mouth and K-State cheerleaders come to mind.But seriously, huge score here for the state, both in terms of dollars and cents and furthering scientific research.

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

autie (Anonymous) says…sounds great…just make sure those alfalfa boys don't dump nothin bad down the drain cleanin up at night…nothin like a little zombie juice in the Kaw.=====================================I'm sure that's why they want K State people doing it rather than KU. So that sort of thing doesn't happen.

gccs14r 9 years, 5 months ago

The original lab was four miles offshore, downwind of the continental U.S. for a reason. We should keep it there. Putting it here is an incredibly bad idea.

classclown 9 years, 5 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says…“I still say New York will come out on top, because this is the way the Federal Government typically operates.” -BigotPrune––––––—I missed the part where NY was even in the running to get this facility.You are on quite an 0-fer streak lately smart guy=============================Actually, if I remember it correctly, after they announced the finalist locations, they decided to add the original location to the list.

Joe Hyde 9 years, 5 months ago

Should this lab get approved and built, and then one day something goes horribly wrong and those lethal pathogens escape into the environment, the cruel irony will be that the nation's stongest region for beef and bison production will be economically destroyed by the very laboratory intended to protect it.

Mike George 9 years, 5 months ago

Let me offer some knowledge to help the discussion - I was the PM for the Construction Manager for the KSU BRI project, so have complete knowledge of that facility and what mostly is planned for the NBAF because we are competing for that project. Much of the details of the BRI are restricted because of security concerns, but let me assure you that the structure of the containment labs in the facility is built to withstand the direct hit of a Force 5 tornado, so that isn't an issue. All of the effluent from the facility is triple treated before it is sent to the Manhattan system, and their sewage engineers have already tested and verified the purity. There are four levels of electrical redundancy in the power systems, and three levels of redundancy in the exhaust air systems, which double-HEPA filters all the leaving air. Nothing can break down and "spill" to the outside - if anything fails thru three or four levels of redundancy, it simply stays contained in the building. These buildings are the most sophisticated ever built and the new NBAF will have even more levels of redundancy and protection, if you can imagine that. Frankly, these buildings pose no threat to Kansas population, livestock and plants, and comparing them to the existing facility on Plum Island that was built in 1954 is not a valid exercise. Don't lose sleep about these projects - they are a 100% benefit to the state, our economy and the labor market. For the BRI project, we utilized 83% Kansas labor and subcontractors. Some items like the submarine doors just are only made by one or two vendors out of state. Hope this helps.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow, talk about airhead. I read the title of this article and was like, "we're going to have the NBA finals in Kansas! Awesome!" Yeah, I'll just insert the foot now.

staff04 9 years, 5 months ago

They should save a few bucks and use the BSL-4 labs that are already constructed but not in use due to funding shortages at the CDC in Atlanta...

Mike George 9 years, 5 months ago

Regarding staff04's comment about the CDC BSL-4 labs that are mothballed, the missing element is that the CDC labs are not set up at all for animal housing and containment, which is a necessary part of the ongoing research and testing that will be done. Both the BRI and the new USDA lab at Ames, IA, are the newest type to house research animal populations in complete safety and security. In addition, the KSU facility has a plant pathology and research section.

topekan7 9 years, 5 months ago

and will they be naming the lab "The Bill Synder Family Bio-Agri Defense Facility"?

hornhunter 9 years, 5 months ago

No Multi, This lab will house its own power plant so that they know that they will have their own reliable power, 24/7. Even when the wind doesn't blow and queen Kathy does. The queen needs to remember she and her prince B. shut down any new CO2 production in this state made from power producers.

tunahelper 9 years, 5 months ago

Everytime a Wildcat in Manhattan flushes the toliet, there is a jayhawk in Lawrence drinking that water!!!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 5 months ago

"Threat of pathogen release were comparable to other proposed sites."There is no suggestion here that "comparable" means "low".Our state economy is so screwed, I'd agree to a coal gasification plant next to the governor's mansion.

Mike George 9 years, 5 months ago

I think log just called me a wacko - speaking of "stupid and flippant comments"........

BaneMaler 9 years, 5 months ago

Who's going to lose their homes over this deal? I might not have a problem with the lab if I knew that Eminent Domain wasn't going to be used willy nilly.

gccs14r 9 years, 5 months ago

"Everytime a Wildcat in Manhattan flushes the toliet, there is a jayhawk in Lawrence drinking that water!!!"Who says they have indoor plumbing?

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