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Under Secretary's visit shows commitment to NBAF

U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, and Represenative Lynn Jenkins, R-KS, lauded the Department of Homeland Security's Under Secretary for Science Technology Dr. Tara O'Toole's visit Dec. 7 to Kansas in preparation for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

"Dr. O'Toole's visit to Kansas demonstrates DHS's commitment to building the NBAF and responding to the critical need for new animal vaccines and countermeasures," Sen. Roberts said. "I am pleased Sec. O'Toole is in Kansas touring the BRI and that this vital project remains a high priority for the administration. With the NBAF, the nation is bringing its capabilities in this area into the 21st century, and the result will be accelerated research to safeguard America's dinner table."

"Today's NBAF site visit in Manhattan is another positive step forward in the construction process," Sen. Brownback said. "I am pleased at the progress being made and look forward to the day when NBAF is completed. The new NBAF lab will ensure the safety of our food supply and be a world leader in animal health research."

"Bringing NBAF to Kansas has been a long process, but it is critical to our nation's public health and safety that NBAF is constructed in a timely manner," Rep. Lynn Jenkins said. "I am confident Dr. O'Toole's visit confirms the administration's commitment to keeping this vital project moving forward."

Dr. O'Toole will meet with state leaders at the Statehouse in Topeka and tour the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) in Manhattan with state officials and members of the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

The NBAF, which will be built at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., will serve as the nation's premier research center for combating agriculture's vulnerability to naturally occurring diseases or agroterrorism.

Kansas State University was unanimously selected on the merits as the best location for the NBAF by a select panel of scientists and experts from DHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The decision came after three years of competitive federal review of 29 interested sites around the country; a phase-two evaluation of 18 sites in 11 states; and an environmental impact statement process involving six finalist sites in line with the National Environmental Policy Act.

DHS plans to break ground in 2010. The NBAF is expected to be operational by 2015.

For more information, visit www.nbafinkansas.org.

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