Homeland Security Selects Kansas for National Bio and Agro Defense Lab

Plumb Island facility will be relocated to Manhattan.

Kansas State University in Manhattan is the site that the Department of Homeland Security recommends for the building of a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to replace the aging national laboratory at Plum Island, N.Y.

Sen. Pat Roberts was one of the lawmakers who obtained a copy of the final draft of the environmental impact statement prepared by DHS. The official announcement of that statement is expected later this week.

"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. This NBAF will protect and build the state's agriculture economy for decades to come and further expand our national leadership in the biosciences," Roberts said in a press release.

Roberts plans a joint press conference with Kansas State University on the announcement on Thursday.

But his office stressed that there are several steps that still must be taken before the lab decision becomes final.

A 30-day public comment period begins with the formal announcement. During that time period, other states who were finalists for the lab - Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas - could mount challenges to the decision.

There is also the possibility of environmental or other activitsts opposing the building of the lab in Kansas. Some farm groups, including the Kansas Cattlemen's Association, have expressed concerns about conducting research on the deadliest animal pathogens, including foot and mouth disease, in the heart of cattle country.

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