NBAF

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

After years of environmental and safety reviews, Congress approved final funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas this year.  And last week, a who's who of the power elite gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking. Two cabinet secretaries, most of the Kansas Congressional delegation, military personnel and several state lawmakers joined the Kansas Lt. Governor and Gov. Sam Brownback, who had been wooing NBAF for more than a decade.

"NBAF is finally here!" Brownback shouted to the cheers of an ecstatic crowd.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Most of the Kansas Congressional delegation, state and local officials as well as the Secretaries of both Agriculture and Homeland Security smiled, shook hands, even hugged as they came together for the latest in a series of ceremonial groundbreakings for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF.

The Manhattan, Kansas facility has been in the works for 16 years, said Sen. Pat Roberts, the grandfather of the project, who first pushed for greater food and agriculture safety with Kansas State University officials in 1999.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A newly appointed official with the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, said Thursday the facility’s main laboratory will be under construction within a month at the site in Manhattan, Kansas.

Marty Vanier told the Agriculture Business Council of Kansas City the release of several million dollars in funds from Washington finalized the federal government’s commitment, allowing The Department of Homeland Security to move forward with the lab.

The state of Kansas has committed more than $300 million in state funds.

Laura Ziegler

Three members of the Kansas Congressional delegation were in Manhattan, Kan., Friday to see the first stage of construction on the $1.2 billion federal animal disease lab known as NBAF, or the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Joining Senators Jerry Moran, Pat Roberts and Congressman Tim Huelskamp was Dr. Reginald Brothers. Brothers will oversee the facility as an undersecretary with the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Talking to reporters after the tour, Brothers said he was happy with what he saw.

courtesy photo / U.S. Department of Homeland Security

A U.S. Senate subcommittee has appropriated $300 million in funding for the National Bio and Agro- Defense Facility , or NBAF, in Manhattan, Kan.

Ron Trewyn, vice president for research at Kansas State University, says this week's appropriation for a top-security animal disease lab on Kansas State's campus will allow the Department Of Homeland Security lab be finished.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Finally — a chunk of federal funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), has made it through Congress.  The $1.1 trillion appropriations bill that sailed through Congress this week makes it possible for construction to begin on the animal disease lab in Manhattan, Kansas.

It would be the first federal funding for the controversial project since 2011.

When the Department of Homeland Security authorized funding for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in 2009, proceeds from the sale of New York’s Plum Island were expected to entirely offset the cost of the Kansas-based lab.

Kansas State University

The former office manager for an animal disease research lab at Kansas State University faces a maximum of 10 years in jail and $750,000 in fines if convicted of embezzling federal funds. 

Linda Kay Miller, 51, of Alma, Kan. has been indicted on charges of signing federal grant monies over to her own bank account. The funds were to go for research at the Biosecurity Research Center in Pat Roberts Hall at K-State. 

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said Miller allegedly made herself the payee of checks totaling about $13,000.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts say funding for a federal lab to be built in Manhattan has passed an important hurdle.

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, will study diseases that could be used to attack the nation's food supply. A Senate subcommittee voted earlier this week to approve more than $400 million for the lab.

Moran says that a full Senate committee has now also voted to approve the funding.

“It is a determining factor in NBAF’s future,” says Moran.

Sherriene Jones Sontag

There was a lot of hand-shaking and back-slapping at the recent groundbreaking for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan. Soon, the first construction will begin on an independent utility plant for the top-security animal disease lab.  

It’s been 4 and a half  years since the Department of Homeland Security awarded the project to Kansas, and it's been a rocky road to this point.

For a long time, the 46-acre site in a north corner of the Kansas State University campus has been fenced off,  guarded by security,  with an Olympic pool-size hole inside. 

Shierrene Jones Sontag / Governor's office

Federal , state, and local officials gathered Tuesday afternoon at a ceremonial groundbreaking for a power plant on the site of the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The so-called Central Utility Plant is Phase 2 of the Department of Homeland Security project - a high level bio-containment animal disease lab that will studying emerging and foreign animal diseases.

Congress allocated $40 million for the power plant in 2011.

Department of Homeland Security

Groundbreaking for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will take place next Tuesday in Manhattan, Kansas according to a release from Senator Robert's office.

Cost sharing for this phase of the animal disease lab will be about equal - 50/50- for the independent power plant required on the 48 acre site at Kansas State University. Both Kansas and the federal government are putting in roughly $40 million.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas Senators Tuesday gave first round approval for new spending in support of a controversial federal animal disease lab Manhattan.

Some Democrats as well as some in Gov. Brownback’s own party have questioned whether the state should commit an additional $202 million in bonds, on top of $145 million already spent in support of the federal lab.

Doubters in the legislature worry the state will be on the hook for cost overruns as the project continues.

The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amended version of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to issue more bonds for a federal lab in Manhattan. They delayed a decision Wednesday on the governor's proposal to help fund the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, but after a briefing from Brownback's chief of staff, the committee approved the plan for $200 million in bonds.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says if Kansas lawmakers won't approve additional funds for the National Bio And Agro-Defense Facility, there's a chance it won't get built.  And that's a risk he's not willing to take,  he said over the weekend on a stop in Kansas City, Kansas. 

President Obama's FY2014 budget requested $714 million for the top security animal disease lab proposed for Manhattan, Kansas.  As part of that request, the state was asked to contribute  $202 million. That's in addition to almost $150 million Kansas has already committed.

Some Republicans in Topeka suggest Governor Brownback’s request for an additional $202 million in bonds for the proposed animal disease lab represents a “moving target,” and want to be reassured the state isn’t going to be responsible for more than it can afford for a federal facility.

$714 Million For NBAF In Obama Budget

Apr 11, 2013
Bryan Thompson / Kansas Public Radio

President Obama's 2014 budget proposal includes $714 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.  It’s the state-of-the-art biosecurity lab planned for Manhattan, adjacent to Kansas State University. 

In response to the budget announcement, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback immediately pledged to work with lawmakers during the upcoming veto session to approve state bonds to help complete the lab.  The President is asking for an additional $202 million in state support for the project. 

President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal to Congress asks for funds to “develop countermeasures for diseases originating from large animals that can be transmitted to humans, "  including $714 million for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The news has already been  interpreted by supporters as a green light for the $1.15-billion federal animal disease lab known as NBAF, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, in Manhattan, Kansas.

Senator Pat Roberts said the proposal represents the administration’s support for NBAF.

The Kansas Secretary of Agriculture says he’s moving most of state Agriculture Department to Manhattan. Secretary Dale Rodman says the agriculture in Kansas will benefit from being part of what he’s calling “the synergies” between Kansas State University and a burgeoning animal and plant science industry.

The move will allow the Kansas department to work more closely and avoid redundancies with bioscience research and commerce already going on in Manhattan.

Laura Ziegler

A senior official from the President’s Office of Management and Budget told two Congressmen he would be mindful of their concerns regarding the cost and safety of the proposed National Bio and Ago-Defense Facility (NBAF) in considering how much to allocate for NBAF in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

OMB Deputy Director of Management Jeffrey Zients told Congressmen Tim Bishop and Joe Courtney that the administration was forced to evaluate the proposal for a new large-animal disease lab in the context of current budget constraints.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

It’s not often that a press release comes out under the name of an entire Congressional delegation, even one as ideologically joined at the hip as this group from Kansas.

But that’s exactly what happened last month.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts said in an interview Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security will announce on Thursday its plans to release funds to get the stalled National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility started. 

The so-called NBAF has had difficulty getting off the ground. Senator Roberts chairs an NBAF steering committee and is the project's guiding light in Congress. The new funding is expected to enable the start of construction on a central electric plant -- a requirement for the billion dollar lab.

$90 million in federal funds are available for the NBAF.

The proposed NBAF lab in Manhattan, Kan., is on the campus of Kansas State University.
Laura Ziegler / KCUR

A limited survey of members of the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association has found little support for building the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kan.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The Department of Homeland Security officially took ownership of 46 acres in Manhattan, Kansas this week for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

We return now to a story we’ve been covering on an ongoing basis: The debate over the billion-dollar  animal disease lab under construction – maybe – in Manhattan, Kansas.

KU / flickr

Budget negotiations between President Obama and Congressional leaders continue, but if those talks fail, Kansas will see a series of funding cuts that will affect the future of higher education, research, and military bases in the state.

It could be good news for supporters of the NBAF,  the top-level biosecurity lab proposed for Manhattan, Kan.

The National Academies of Sciences issued a set of 10 conclusions today on the future of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas

The report says while there is a critical need for a so-called BSL4 lab to research the most dangerous emerging diseases that affect particularly livestock, it said the current NBAF proposal would be better... smaller.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

The National Academies of Science issued a set of 10 conclusions today on the future of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas.

The report says while there is a critical need for a so-called BSL4 lab that will research the most dangerous emerging diseases to affect particularly livestock, it said the current NBAF proposal might be too big and too costly.

Harvest Public Media

The future of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan is under the microscope this week for the second time in just over a month.

Laura Ziegler / Harvest Public Media

A committee of the National Research Council says an updated risk assessment of a proposed high-security biodefense lab in Manhattan, Kan., appears to understate the chances of deadly pathogens being accidentally released. 

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