Kansas Officials Press Feds For Biosecurity Lab

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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UPDATE: Friday, June 15, 2012

Kansas officials are pressing the federal government to move ahead with construction of a new biosecurity lab near Kansas State University.

They're doing so even though a report Friday from the National Research Council said there's still no good assessment of how safely it would operate. The $1.14 billion lab would research deadly animal diseases.

Kansas Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran sent a letter Friday to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, demanding she release $90 million already approved for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback joined them, as did Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill.

The new report said Homeland Security's assessment of the lab's safety was flawed in predicting little risk of an accidental release of a dangerous disease.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The National Research Council says the federal government is still seriously underestimating the risk of dangerous animal pathogens escaping from a planned biosecurity lab in Kansas.

The council says in a report issued Friday that there are serious flaws in a Department of Homeland Security analysis from earlier this year that deemed the risk of such a release from the proposed lab to be very low.

The group also cast doubt on the government's first assessment of the safety of the planned National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan near Kansas State University.

The council says the DHS' latest evaluation underestimates the risk of human error causing a pathogen's release.

The group is a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, which is a private nonprofit that advises the government.

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