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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2008

Federal report: Manhattan still in running for Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility

A Homeland Security Department study examining the possible effects of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak from proposed research facilities locations in the continental U.S. was released Friday. The study concluded that economic losses in an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could surpass $4.2 billion if the lab, currently located in New York, were moved near livestock herds in Kansas or Texas.

A Homeland Security Department study examining the possible effects of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak from proposed research facilities locations in the continental U.S. was released Friday. The study concluded that economic losses in an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease could surpass $4.2 billion if the lab, currently located in New York, were moved near livestock herds in Kansas or Texas.

June 20, 2008, 2:36 p.m. Updated June 21, 2008, 12:00 a.m.

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A site at Kansas State University in Manhattan remains in the mix for a new $450 million bio-security laboratory, according to a draft of a federal study that examines potential sites for a new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility.

Leaders working to secure the project for Kansas say that they're pleased with the draft environmental impact statement - as much for what's not included in its hundreds of pages as what is.

"I certainly don't see any significant downsides that we can't address," said Ron Trewyn, vice president for research at K-State, in a conference call soon after the document was released Friday afternoon. "We're looking forward to remaining in the game and moving forward."

The project's draft environmental impact statement examines conditions and risks at the six sites being considered for the high-security federal lab. The lab, as envisioned, would be designed and operated to protect the country and its food supply from diseases and other threats.

The statement, required by the National Environmental Policy Act, will be used by the Department of Homeland Security in deciding where to locate the lab.

"If there's a sigh of relief over here, it's that there's no strike, no barrier, no environmental threat that we weren't aware of," said Tom Thornton, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. "We're more than pleased to hear that."

The department is scheduled to pick a site later this year, likely in December, said John Verrico, a department spokesman. Along with KSU in Manhattan, five other sites are being considered: Athens, Ga.; Granville County, N.C.; Madison County, Miss.; San Antonio; and an existing lab at Plum Island, N.Y.

No frontrunners

The document released Friday does not conclude that any one particular site stands out or any of the others have fallen behind, Verrico said.

Instead, he said, it simply distributes all the information gathered so that people can start discussing which site might work best.

"All six sites are on equal footing," Verrico said. "This report doesn't recommend one site over another. Everything is still on the table. What it does is tell us what we're looking at as far as potential environmental impacts at each of the sites."

Two public meetings - one in the morning, and another in the afternoon - will be conducted July 31 at KSU to answer questions and gather input, all of which will incorporated into the final report.

The final report then will recommend a specific site for the project, expected this fall.

Kansas leaders have been pushing to secure the project for Kansas, saying that the state is best because of its widespread public acceptance, proximity to research universities, and connection with agriculture.

The Manhattan site would be immediately adjacent to K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute. It covers 48.4 acres southeast of the intersection of Kimball and Denison avenues.

Thornton, of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, emphasized Friday that environmental issues would not be the only issues considered when deciding where the project should go.

Factors in decision

Cost, policy, collaboration and other factors also will be weighed, perhaps even more heavily than the voluminous data, charts, and other information compiled in the draft of the environmental impact statement.

Specifically, he said:

¢ Kansas already is home to a huge number of animal-science companies and research operations, offering unprecedented opportunities for collaboration. And 15 states have signed on to support Kansas' bid for the lab.

¢ Kansas has offered more money to help offset project costs.

¢ The Manhattan site would be adjacent to an established high-security lab operation, and at a school with the world's finest education and training for workers in such labs.

"We will come back to these policy issues, these cost issues, and these safety issues," Thornton said, of the state's strategy for landing the lab. "Going forward, those will be the three-legged stool that we intend to stand up on.

"Strong research. Animal health. Strong public support. Very effective collaboration. The big number of states that are supporting our bid. The state has put money up to offset the cost. And, of course, continuing to (emphasize) these safety and security issues - that, I think, will be where we openly stand up."

Potential problem

Jamie Johnson, director of national labs for Homeland Security, noted Friday that one set of facts in the draft statement already had been gaining attention: The potential economic loss brought about by a release of Foot and Mouth Disease (which would be researched at the lab, where vaccines would be under development).

The numbers: $4.2 billion in Kansas and $4.1 billion in Texas, given their proximity to livestock herds; $3.5 billion in North Carolina; $3.4 billion in Mississippi; $3.35 billion in Georgia. In New York, on Plum Island, the risk would be $2.8 billion.

But the report also concluded that the risk of a release of the disease from the lab would be "very low," Johnson said. And decision makers will be considering the state's pluses, as well, such as proximity to the research community and others to come up with the best potential response and defenses for any detrimental disease threatening the food chain.

The document released Friday established no clear front runner, he said. It simply sets a path toward a decision, with the environmental effects, consequences and variables all factored in.

"We are not required to pick the site that has the least environment impact," he said, "but at least the decision maker is aware."

Comments

max1 5 years, 10 months ago

June 19, 2008 http://www.nwcn.com/topstories/stories/NW_061808BUB_boeing_gao_air_tanker_contract_JM.161e241b.htmlBoeing wins key round in Air Force tanker protestThe Government Accountability Office upheld Boeing's protest of the refueling tanker contract and recommended the service hold a new competition.The decision also is a setback for Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in waiting, who was instrumental in the Pentagon's long attempt to complete a deal on the tanker. . . McCain sent two letters in 2006 urging the Defense Department to make sure the bidding proposals guaranteed competition between Boeing and Airbus. Months later, Airbus's parent company retained the firm of a McCain campaign adviser to lobby for the tanker deal.Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., lauded the GAO decision and called for a "fair and transparent" rebidding of the contract.

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

"She needs to help out Slattery and, now that his hopes of blaming Roberts for the Airbus contract have been dashed" -CentervilleI have an idea -- why don't we sub this bio-lab out to the French?March 3, 2008http://www.webinfrance.com/eads-france-airbus-wrests-us-air-force-contract-from-boeing-303.html EADS of France, maker of Airbus, wrests US air Force contract from BoeingMarch 11, 2008http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=9559323575 Sen. Pat Roberts' vote COST BOEING THE AIRFORCE CONTRACT2003 Vote Authorized Dept. of Defense to Seek Foreign Bids for Military ContractsSenators' votes allowed opportunities for Kansas to fly by when in 2003, in a 50-48 vote, Kan. Sen. Pat Roberts voted to authorize the Department of Defense to seek bids on military contracts from companies based in foreign countries.If Roberts and fellow Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback had voted against the amendment, it would have failed and Boeing would have retained the contract to manufacture the aircraft.Roberts reacted with "disappointment" and "shock" following Boeing's lost bid to supply 179 tanker aircraft to the U.S. Air Force in February. Roberts said the lost contract would have "meant up to 3,800 Kansas jobs and $145 million a year economic impact." Roberts has said the decision "will be at the cost of American jobs and American dollars, if not our national security." In 2003, Sen. John McCain introduced Senate Amendment 783 to amend Senate Bill 1050, the defense appropriations bill being debated at that time. . . That amendment passed 50-48 on May 21, 2003 with the full support of Roberts. Roberts later forcefully spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of the bill and urged his fellow senators to support the legislation, which passed the following day.Jones, a railroad engineer stated, "Roberts was asleep at the switch and has derailed the whole tanker project for Boeing and its workers. Sen. Roberts not only wrongly voted for the McCain amendment, but to add insult to injury, went to the floor of the U.S. Senate and urged his fellow senators to vote for the amendment. He now knows that he is in trouble and is trying to cover his tracks."

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

"Is max1 really Merrill? -madmikeYou wish!http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/364566_joel26.htmlSeattle: Ex-Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler became the latest Washington, D.C., lobbyist to bail out of the McCain campaign, where he was national finance co-chairman. . . Loeffler was a major backstage advocate for the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., the corporate parent of Airbus. EADS and Northrop-Grumman recently beat out Boeing for the contract to provide refueling tankers for the Air Force.The decision to go with a foreign firm has raised major questions. Then, too, Sen. John McCain helped deep-six in 2004 an earlier contract that would have gone to Boeing.http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/nov..."Who cares about Seattle anyway?" -madmikehttp://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/sep..."I lived in the People's Undemocratic Republic of Seattle" -madmike.

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

"She needs to help out Slattery and, now that his hopes of blaming Roberts for the Airbus contract have been dashed . . ." -Centervillehttp://www2.ljworld.com/blogs/kansas_congress/2008/mar/03/boeing/Lawmakers have reacted angrily after the U.S. military awarded a $35 billion aircraft deal to Europe's Northrop Grumman/EADS group, in a major blow to U.S. manufacturer Boeing.http://www.bnd.com/508/story/337600.htmlMcCain, you see, was flying into Boeing Field on a Boeing 737 after having worked earlier in this decade to kill a deal to lease Boeing 767 jets to the Air Force for use as refueling aircraft.http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/connelly/364566_joel26.htmlSen. John McCain helped deep-six in 2004 an earlier contract that would have gone to Boeing.http://mccainsource.com/corruption?id=0004EADS recently "beat Boeing to a $35 billion Air Force tanker contract." [Associated Press, 3/11/08]Due to McCain's interference, American workers missed out on an estimated 19,000 potential jobs. Had the contract been awarded to Boeing, the company says it would have created 44,000 jobs, while the EADS contract will create merely 25,000. [MSNBC, 3/10/08; International Herald Tribune, 3/1/08McCain Voted Against Allowing Competition For Defense Contracts. [S 2514, Vote #162, 6/25/2002]McCain "Nearly Single Handedly" Killed Boeing's Chances of Obtaining Tanker Contract. McCain Has Received $14,000 From EADS Employees, More Than Any Member of Congress.McCain Wrote The Law That Allows Defense Contracts To Be Awarded To Foreign Companies. McCain Voted Against Encouraging Defense Contracts To Be Executed In The United States.McCain Allies Made Million Lobbying For EADSSeven Of McCain's Advisers And Fundraisers Have Lobbied For EADS.EADS Paid The Loeffler Group $220,000 To Lobby On Fuel Tankers In 2007.

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Centerville 5 years, 10 months ago

XD40,Don't give her any ideas. She needs to help out Slattery and, now that his hopes of blaming Roberts for the Airbus contract have been dashed, you can bet that she's on a mission to undercut this project. We don't have an executive who's strong on economics. Exceptions: she has championed one Kansas industry - Tiller's abortion mill - and promised Westar unlimited rate escalation if they'll give her some windmills.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm with Big Prune. Plus, another important factor regards the spouses of the scientists and top employees. How many really want to live in Manhattan, Kansas. After all, if Lawrence cannot keep the director of Lawrence Memorial here is highly likely that someone married to a top scientist will move to Kansas, let alone Manhattan.

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BigPrune 5 years, 10 months ago

This is much ado about nothing! They aren't leaving N.Y. This decision was made months or years ago. This is the way a federal agency operates. They just like getting people's hope up. It's a power trip and they want to appear like they are legit. That's also why the "what would happen if foot and mouth disease got released in Kansas?" articles started appearing a few months ago.Nobody needs to worry about some bio site locating in Kansas. Nobody needs to get exciting about potential jobs coming. It ain't happening. The decision has already been made. Of course the federal government wants to look like they are being up front and honest when indeed they are not. This is just their standard operating procedure. They also got a few trips out of the thought.

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

28 May 2008http://www.newscientist.com/channel/health/mg19826583.000-footandmouth-lab-should-stay-on-island.htmlIf you want to build the world's largest laboratory for studying foot-and-mouth disease, put it on an island. That's the latest advice to the US government, which is keen to site a "National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility" on one of five potential sites on the mainland.The GAO [U.S. Government Accountability Office] says mainland sites are too risky because a virus could escape and easily spread to nearby farms. That happened last year when foot-and-mouth virus escaped from a faulty pipe at a high-containment lab at the Institute for Animal Health in Pirbright, UK, causing outbreaks at eight neighboring farms. GAO cites this as "the best evidence in favor of an island location".http://searching.gao.gov/query.html?charset=iso-8859-1&ql=&rf=2&qt=agro-defense&Submit=SearchGAO-08-821T High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories: DHS Lacks Evidence to Conclude That ..GAO-08-108T High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories: Preliminary Observations on the ..http://www.gao.gov/

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

http://www.baltimorechronicle.com/2006/092806KISSIN-OCHS.shtmlDuring a two-week period in April four years ago, officials at the Army's lead biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick discovered anthrax spores had escaped carefully guarded suites into the building's unprotected areas.Employees at USAMRIID, the Army's leading biodefense laboratory, filed 161 biological defense mishap reports between April 1, 2002 and Dec. 1, 2005.Since Fort Detrick's stated mission is to anticipate biological threats, Fort Detrick plans to genetically modify diseases on which to test vaccines.http://www.labdesignnews.com/LaboratoryDesign/LD0509FEAT_1.aspWorking with danger Since BSL-4 labs are expensive to build and operate, and because there are relatively few researchers that study at the BSL-4 level, these facilities are rare. As mentioned earlier, only a few are currently functional in the United States.Because of the rigorous requirements for both physical and environmental containment, BSL-4 lab design and construction are extremely specialized. Because only a few of these labs exist in the world, only a few architectural firms have ever designed a BSL-4 lab. The latest BSL-4 lab to become operational, opening its doors in 2003, was designed for the Univ. of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston by the integrated architecture and planning firm Perkins+Will.The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) recently selected our firm to design the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) facility at Fort Detrick, Frederick, Md.

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

"As a dairy farmer, I'm more concerned about what foot-and-mouth could do to our industry" -jeksdairyhttp://www.standupuga.org/content/biodefenseBio-Safety Level 4 Biodefense Labs: High-containment facilities where research is conducted on lethal pathogens for which there is no known cureMerial, whose UK's vaccination plant's drainage system most likely caused the most recent Foot and Mouth Disease in England according to a final government report : The report revealed that Merial, the world's largest animal pharmaceutical company, producing thousands of liters of live virus for vaccinations, failed to sterilize effluent fully before discharging it into the drains.http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/detrick_qa.htmBSL-4 agents:Are associated with human disease and cause illness by spreading through the air (aerosol) or have an unknown cause of transmissionCause diseases that are usually life-threateningThere are currently only four operational BSL-4 laboratory suites in the United States: at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA; at the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD; at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio; and at the University of Texas at Galveston.

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jeksdairy 5 years, 10 months ago

To have a good defense, we have to have great research. As a dairy farmer, I'm more concerned about what foot-and-mouth could do to our industry than I am about the possibility of a leakage. The best place for NBAF is in Kansas.

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XD40 5 years, 10 months ago

max1. The existing Biosecurity facility was not damaged by the tornado. Don't go giving Kathleen"Don't Drop the Soap" Sebelius any ideas. She's already done enough damage to Kansas this year. Next thing you know she'll try and kill this project, too.

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max1 5 years, 10 months ago

The Manhattan site would be immediately adjacent to K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute. It covers 48.4 acres southeast of the intersection of Kimball Avenue and Denison Avenue.path of tornadohttp://img66.imageshack.us/img66/8623/manhattan2zi7.jpgbuildings hit by tornadohttp://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8349/manhattan3vh0.jpg

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