Archive for Friday, April 24, 2009

Texans say Kansas didn’t play fair in NBAF selection process

April 24, 2009


— When the process was under way to evaluate competing sites for the proposed federal biosecurity lab, it was Kansas officials who publicly fretted about states with more political clout, such as Texas.

After all, a Texan — President George W. Bush — was in the White House, and the Texas congressional delegation outnumbers Kansas’, 34-6.

But behind the scenes, it was Kansas officials who were unfairly politicking, according to an allegation from the Texas group that was beat out by Kansas in the bid to win the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

The charge is among several leveled in a 50-page filing in federal court.

The Texas consortium of research institutions, business groups and governmental entities is asking the court to set aside the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s decision to build NBAF on the Kansas State University campus.

The Texas consortium says the laboratory, which will be devoted to research on deadly pathogens, should be built in San Antonio, which ranked second among six finalist sites for the facility.

During the site selection process, DHS officials set up procedures to restrict contact with representatives promoting their location in order to protect against undue influence, the Texas consortium said.

But the Texas group says Kansas didn’t play by the rules. “High-level Kansas elected officials, including Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Senators (Pat) Roberts and (Sam) Brownback also lobbied Undersecretary (Jay) Cohen directly in an effort to induce him to select the Manhattan, Kansas, site for the NBAF,” the filing said.

Sebelius’ office said she did not meet with Cohen during his visit to Kansas, but she and other state officials met with him in Washington, D.C., which was widely reported at the time. “These meetings were during an appropriate time in the process,” said Sebelius’ spokeswoman, Beth Martino.

Martino said that because part of DHS’ evaluation criteria included the support of public officials, it only made sense that Kansas officials present a unified effort to the agency.

“We are proud of the level of involvement and cooperation Kansas leaders of both parties displayed, and we are ready to help defend America’s food supply through the NBAF mission,” she said.

Other allegations by the Texas group included:

• Tornadoes in Kansas make the proposed site too risky. Damage or destruction of the facility by high winds could release deadly diseases that would devastate the cattle industry;

• The San Antonio site actually scored higher than any of the other sites, and DHS erroneously concluded that the Kansas site had superior research capabilities to San Antonio;

• DHS gave undue weight to Kansas’ financial offering to defray construction costs.


dweezil222 9 years ago

Are you kidding me? You're from Texas and you're complaining about the tornadoes in Kansas? Pot, kettle, black.

63BC 9 years ago

Rothschild nails it here.

34 Texas members of Congress. Six Kansans.

Our team cleaned their clock and now they want to complain about "fairness."

Chew glass, Longhorn whiners. You got outhustled.

Huge, huge score by the Kansas six.

Anytime somebody asks "what has our delegation done for us?" Now you know.

Danimal 9 years ago

What a bunch of p*ssies. We have fewer tornadoes every year than Texas does. I would worry about crazed tea parties over-running the facility were it built in San Antonio.

del888 9 years ago

maybe Texas will from their own country and we can attack them. Let's go back to the Big 8 - when Texas didn't matter

Lowell Holmes 9 years ago


unelectable 9 years ago

Like a whole 'nother country. Let it be!

LiberalDude 9 years ago

There is nothing that I like better than Kansas conservatives and Texas conservatives fighting. Brilliant!

Practicality 9 years ago

Texas, are they even part of the United States anymore? Who cares what they think.

Practicality 9 years ago

Yes we know log, you want the government to provide everything yet at the same time you want to restrict the revenue coming into the state. You must be stoned again.

VTHawk 9 years ago

This is why big government is bad. People (here, states) squabble over the scraps from the government table, and influence is far more important that objective analysis.

The process of selecting this site has gone on for far too long, and wasted even more taxpayer dollars. If a business was choosing a site, the process would have been quick and based on economic reasoning. Here, the government forces different states and lobbies to peddle influence.

gccs14r 9 years ago

"If a business was choosing a site, the process would have been quick and based on economic reasoning."

And would have ended up in India or China.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

Best stop all spending until this matter is resolved.

Texas counts big time in election periods and all sides of the aisle recognize this fact. Things could change.

deskboy04 9 years ago

Maybe they considered the fact that Kansas is more centrally located?

K_Easthouse 9 years ago

Nothing new. Congress will always try to intervene when they see the possibility for big money coming home to their state. The Georgian delegation is also crying foul, as well. I doubt anything will come from it. It's more about grandstanding and "proving your fighting for your constituents" for the next election cycle until you can fake outrage at the next thing you were snubbed on.

I'm more concerned with how our delegation will respond to the incoming barrage. The facility will be in Lynn Jenkins' district, but we haven't heard anything out of her. Brownback and Roberts don't sit on the Homeland Security committee, and neither do any of our representatives. Sebilius is in DC but part of the Obama administration now, and I haven't heard anything from Parkinson on thing. Clout may not have been taken into account for the original contract award, but we'll need at least a couple of voices to defend the contract award if we want to keep the money in-state.

63BC 9 years ago

Roberts chaired the Emerging Threats subcommittee on Armed Services before there was Homeland Security committee. He's the biggest single reason this thing is being built in Kansas.

Brownback is on Homeland Security Appropriations, which will actually handle the budget. They are way ahead of the curve on this.

Huge, huge win for Kansas.

ENGWOOD 8 years, 12 months ago

Boo Hoo Hoo Tex, Bring on Holcomb station 2 & 3 to power it !!!!!!!

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