Ever since the department of Homeland Security announced its intentions to create a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and move it from Plum Island in New York, there’s been a lot of discussion about where to locate it. Producers have been concerned about accidental contamination with diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, as occurred in Great Britain, while simultaneously demanding more research in these areas.
The selection process for a new facility location has been a little like the construction of a new nuclear plant; everyone might see the need for it, but people are torn between the prospects for new jobs and the local economic boost, and possible risks.
The new lab is expected to cost $451 million. The reported intention to locate the lab in Mississippi has raised a lot of eyebrows, as other states that had been eliminated had scored higher on location assessments than Mississippi. This includes California, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin. In fact, the Flora, MS site actually ranked 14th out of 17 possible sites, but appears to have been selected, as is often the case in D.C., because Mississippi had the right congressmen on the right committees.
Besides Flora, MS, the U.S. locations under consideration forI the new lab are Athens, GA; Manhattan, KS; Butner, NC; and San Antonio, TX.