NBAF funding advanced to full Senate

By The Mercury

Construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) main facility moved one step closer to reality Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2014 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that includes $404 million toward the construction of NBAF.

The bill is now set to go before the full Senate. The House approved $404 million for NBAF as part of its Homeland Security funding measure last month. If the bill gets past the Senate, it would go to conference committee.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said the bill “is good news for Kansas and for the country: it means we’re on the way to constructing a modern, world-class facility — a vital component to protect Americans against biological threats.” Moran said NBAF’s construction provides the state of Kansas “yet another opportunity to develop our state as a research epicenter, ultimately creating jobs for Kansans in the fields of engineering, science and technology.”

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the nation needs NBAF. “Every delay leaves the American people and the American food supply at greater risk,” he said.

The biosafety level 4 facility is slated to replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center as the nation’s lead facility in large animal disease research. The research includes infectious diseases that affect these animals such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which would be the first time that FMD research would occur on the mainland.

The main lab is scheduled to start construction next year.

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