Debate continues on Kansas biolab

Members of the Kansas congressional delegation said this week that the nation would benefit from a new animal disease testing center planned for the state, but the debate over funding for the facility continues.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas), whose district includes the planned site of the facility in Manhattan, Kansas, recently issued a statement lamenting the lack of funding for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility provided by the president's proposed federal budget. Jenkins said that the president's budget proposal, though important, is only a suggestion, according to

"The NBAF is an essential part of the Animal Health Corridor, and there is no part of the country better suited to study the security of our food supply," Jenkins said, reports.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security planned to build the facility as a placement for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, located on Long Island, New York. Plum Island has been operating for the last 60 years. Construction for the new facility was originally scheduled to begin in February 2012.

President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget indicates that Congress provided only $50 million of the $150 million requested for the facility during fiscal year 2012. The 2013 proposal states that the provided appropriations are not enough to begin construction.

The administration has, however, asked for $10 million to go to Kansas State University for research into swine fever that would complement research being conducted at Plum Island, reports.

Jenkins remains confident that the House of Representatives will ensure that the facility is built in Kansas. She said she continues to work with appropriations committee and subcommittee chairs to ensure the project is furthered.