Manhattan To Be Final Site For High Level Biosecurity Lab

Jan 22, 2009

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, as it's known, is supposed to bring millions of dollars in economic development, hundreds of jobs and international prestige to Manhattan, Kan.

A consortium of Kansas State University, the state of Kansas and a public-private "bioscience authority" wrote the proposal for the facility's location. The Department of Homeland Security chose the Kansas proposal over four finalists from other states.

Leading the effort were Sen. Pat Roberts, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and President of K-State, Jon Wefald.

Opposition including ranchers, academics, and citizens, was late in getting organized but was eventually outspoken in its concern about the risks of an accidental release of one of the deadly substances. Many objected to the study of Foot and Mouth Disease, the virus that afflicted cattle in Britain, in the heart of livestock country.

It has been illegal to study the virus on U.S. soil before this time.