TBAC vs. The United States ( .PDF )
Topeka Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that Texas’ plans to sue the federal government over putting the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas could threaten national security.
“I am deeply concerned that legal action will only delay the NBAF mission, placing our national security and food supply at risk,” Sebelius said.
Her comments came after a Texas consortium of researchers gave notice of its intent to file a lawsuit, alleging that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security improperly picked Manhattan, Kan., over San Antonio for the location of the $450 million lab that will study deadly diseases that could pose a threat to the food supply and public health.
Sebelius said Kansas was selected out of six finalists in a fair process that was free of politics.
“Kansas presented a credible pathway to jump-start the NBAF’s critical research mission and committed funding to do so,” she said. “The Department of Homeland Security deserves commendation, not litigation, for their appropriately comprehensive, fair and unbiased selection process.”
The Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium has filed notice in federal court that it intends to sue.
In a news release, the group alleges that there were irregularities in Homeland Security’s decision-making process, political influence and disregard for public safety.
Tom Thornton, president of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, said Kansas was selected for its leadership role in animal health research, a concentration of animal health companies, and state-of-the-art facilities already built on the Kansas State University campus.
In October, DHS rejected a bid by Texas to increase incentives to lure the lab. Texas officials had offered about $44 million in incentives, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he wanted to seek another $56 million from the Texas Legislature when it met in January.
But DHS said that proposal would have been past a deadline for sites to submit their incentive plans. Earlier in 2008, Kansas committed $105 million to lure NBAF. DHS picked Kansas in December as the preferred site.