Tuesday morning, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, along with U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) announced that the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill was approved with bipartisan support by the Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations. The bill includes $300 million for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), an amount equal to the funding requested in the President’s FY2015 Budget and builds on the $404 million appropriated for the construction of NBAF in FY2014. This funding is a critical step forward to finish construction of the lab in Manhattan, Kan.
“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am committed to making certain NBAF remains a top priority,” Sen. Moran said. “This $300 million investment solidifies Congressional support the construction of a modern, world-class facility in Manhattan, Kansas, which will protect Americans against biological threats. Kansas will become a research epicenter, and the construction of this modern, world-class facility will ultimately create jobs for Kansans in the fields of engineering, science and technology. The talented young men and women who grow up here will have more opportunities to work and live in Kansas.”
“The nation needs NBAF. With this final $300 investment, our plant and animal health will be better protected and the critical research will be done in Manhattan, Kansas,” Sen. Roberts said. “I look forward to the economic opportunities this will create for Kansans now and into the future as public and private research expands to keep our best and brightest here at home.”
NBAF, a state-of-the-art biosecurity lab, is to be built adjacent to Kansas State University. A January 2012 economic impact report found the NBAF will employ approximately 326 permanent employees and support some 757 construction jobs. The state of Kansas showed its commitment to this project by contributing $202 million. The facility is expected to have a $3.5 billion economic impact on Kansas in the first 20 years alone.
In addition to creating an economic boom for Kansas, NBAF will protect our national economy by researching foreign animal disease threats, which are very real with devastating impacts. The cost of an outbreak far outweighs the NBAF construction cost, not only in the loss of human life but also its damage to the animal and agricultural industry.
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 committee approved bill now awaits passage by the full U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives has also passed their Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill with funding for NBAF out of committee, but it also awaits passage on the floor.
(press release-courtesy of Senator Moran’s office)