Kansas lauds proposed $40 million for biodefense facility

Kansas officials have expressed their gratitude following the announcement of $40 million in President Barack Obama's proposed 2011 budget for the construction of a biodefense laboratory in northeast Kansas.

"In his State of the Union Address, President Obama voiced a commitment to strengthening our nation’s homeland security efforts, including our fight against bioterrorism," Parkinson said. "The President and his Administration backed up that commitment with action by committing $40 million for the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense facility in Manhattan, Kansas."

The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, Gov. Mark Parkinson has said, is important to both Kansas' economy and will be vital to the nation's security once built.

"This project is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, making it critical to our economy and our national security," Parkinson said. "I hope our Congressional delegation can join the President in supporting this budget, ensuring this commitment and bringing these jobs to Kansas."

The $450 million lab, which would be built at Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas, would research foot-and-mouth disease as well as other deadly animal diseases that are counted among the most dangerous biological threats in the world.

The new lab is meant to replace the aging Plum Island, N.Y., biodefense lab.

Sen. Sam Brownback noted that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is important as it will keep the nation's food supply safe. This new funding, Brownback added, will keep the project on track.

Congress appropriated $32 million last year for the planning and design of the lab and for safety studies.