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Senator Roberts: Manhattan chosen as NBAF site

Kansas a proven leader in bio security

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts celebrated the recommendation of Manhattan, Kan., and Kansas State University to be the site of the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility culminating an effort he began in 2005 to bring this exciting scientific and economic development opportunity to Kansas.

The selection was made in the Department of Homeland Security's Final Environmental Impact Statement obtained Dec. 3. A final record of decision will be issued following a comment period and is expected to follow the recommendation made in the EIS.

"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."

The executive summary of the NBAF Final Environmental Impact Statement said, "Based on the numerous strengths that were evident when evaluating against the evaluation criteria, the steering committee found that the Manhattan Campus Site best met the purpose and need to site, construct and operate the NBAF. Finally taking into consideration the 'in-kind' contributions offered by the consortia, the Manhattan Campus Site was among the least expensive to construct and had among the lowest planned operation costs of all the Site Alternatives."

The NBAF will replace the aging Plum Island facility, the federal government's current location for animal disease research.

In February 2007, Senator Roberts addressed a rare joint session of the Kansas House and Senate soliciting their support for the state's bid to bring the proposed federal research lab to Kansas.

Roberts said then, "There is no doubt, securing this facility would be one of, if not the greatest, economic development initiatives in state history. It is a key to the economic future of Kansas. If it happens, future generations of Kansans will have economic opportunities available to them that are currently unimaginable or available only outside the border of Kansas."

Senator Roberts hailed the many positive partnerships created to win the NBAF, including state government, the NBAF Task Force, of which Roberts was the honorary chairman, the Kansas Bioscience Authority, President Jon Wefald of Kansas State University and the City of Manhattan.

"We can really be proud of our teamwork to prove that Kansas is the best home for this laboratory based on the merits. We had a unity of effort from the federal to the local level, across parties, with private partners and community leaders to bring this tremendous opportunity to the people of Kansas."

Senator Roberts' effort to bring the NBAF to Kansas began in 2005 when the Congress approved funding for site selection and preconstruction planning of a new research facility to replace Plum Island. Senator Roberts began working with Kansas State University officials and encouraged the University and the state to make a proposal for locating this facility in Kansas. Since that time, Senator Roberts has worked on bringing the NBAF to Kansas, personally speaking with key Administration officials, hosting them on tours of the Bioscecurity Research Institute, housed in Pat Roberts Hall at Kansas State University, and the proposed sites.

Senator Roberts is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and is Honorary Chairman of the Kansas NBAF Task Force.


Date: 12/31/08

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