Obama's 2014 budget commits $714M to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback released the following statement April 10 regarding President Barack Obama including $714 million for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility being built in Manhattan, Kan., in his fiscal year 2014 budget.
“I appreciate President Obama’s recommendation to invest more than $700 million for the completion of the NBAF,” Brownback said. “I look forward to working with the Kansas Legislature to meet the requirements of the president’s request by approving the additional bonding needed to complete this project during the upcoming veto session. The NBAF is vital to the security of our country’s food supply, the health of our livestock industry and growing our state’s economy.”
So far the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has invested nearly $200 million into site preparation, engineering, design, and site specific risk-assessments. The state of Kansas already has committed $105 million dollars of matching state funds to the NBAF project and $35 million dollars of research funding for transitioning the NBAF mission to Manhattan. The president is requesting the state invest another $202 million of matching state funds.
A January 2012 economic impact report found the NBAF will employ approximately 326 permanent workers and support about 757 construction jobs. It is expected to have a $3.5 billion economic impact on the state in the facility’s first 20 years of use.
The approximately 46 acre site is located on the north side of the Kansas State University campus. The laboratory will research and develop countermeasures to animal, human, and zoonotic diseases.
U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-KS, and Pat Roberts, R-KS, issued the following statements about Obama’s recommendation.
“I am glad the president agrees that spending on national security by protecting plant and animal health is a priority for the federal government whose first responsibility is to protect its citizens,” Roberts said. “The real work begins as we continue to fight to ensure this $714 million in funding is appropriated to advance construction of the NBAF in Manhattan and achieve this critical national security goal.”
“The commitment is good news for Kansas, agriculture, and the economy because without the capabilities the NBAF will provide, our country is at risk from foreign animal disease threats,” Moran said. “Although challenges remain, I will work to make certain construction of NBAF—an essential part of our national security apparatus—moves forward.”
The main laboratory will boast safety and security features recommended by the National Academies of Sciences. It will include specialized air and water decontamination systems, new technologies for handling solid waste onsite, and structural components to strengthen the laboratory against hazardous weather conditions. A funding commitment was also made to provide infrastructure repairs at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to guarantee a smooth transition of research from Plum Island, N.Y., to Manhattan, Kan.
The NBAF, a state-of-the-art biosecurity lab, is to be built adjacent to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. The facility will replace the antiquated foreign animal disease research facility at Plum Island, N.Y., which has a limited capacity to respond to animal disease threats.