New Yorkers hail plan that would keep animal diseases lab in state

New Yorkers have hailed the Obama administration's halt of plans to move a Cold War-era animal diseases lab from a tiny New York island to a new $650 million facility in Kansas.

Proponents of the lab say it is needed to protect the nation's livestock industry, while its skeptics argue that such an investment during an economic crisis is unwise. New Yorkers have been fighting to keep the 200 jobs where they are, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"The prospect of taking a wrecking ball to a multimillion-dollar Homeland Security investment in the study of foot-and-mouth disease at Plum Island to accommodate another several hundred million-dollar research lab right in the middle of cattle country has always seemed like the height of irresponsible government spending," Bob DeLuca, the president of the Group for the East End, a Long Island environmental group, said, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the New York-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, agrees.

"If nothing is broken, why are they trying to fix it?" Esposito said, the Wall Street Journal reports. "I think even the president realized it would be a big mistake to move. This is nothing but a boondoggle, a money grab that the president has stopped."

President Obama recently announced that he had recommended no additional funding for construction of a new biosecuirty lab. He also directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to reassess the construction of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility planned to be built near Kansas State University.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently told a House appropriations subcommittee that the lab is necessary and that Obama's budget request includes $8 million for research in Kansas. She said that the project will move forward if Congress is willing to provide the funding.

"We've had trouble with getting the money for the NBAF for the last three years," Napolitano told the subcommittee, according to the Wall Street Journal. "It has been peer-reviewed and put in Kansas, near a lot of other resources. That makes sense to put it there."