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National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress
National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues fo

Our Price: $20.00
By Dana A. Shea (au); Jim Monke (au); Frank Gottron (au)
Year: 2008
Pages: 26
Binding Paperback

Product Code: 1437920373

To safeguard the U.S. against animal disease, Congress has appropriated funds to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to engage in research at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), off the coast of N.Y., on animal diseases not native to the U.S. When creating the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003, Congress transferred PIADC from USDA to DHS. Both USDA and DHS, in cooperation with USDA, conduct foreign animal disease research at PIADC, but PIADC has been identified as outdated and too limited to continue as the primary facility for this research. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 tasks the Secretaries of Agriculture and Homeland Security to develop a plan to provide safe, secure, and state-of-the-art agriculture biocontainment labs for R&D of diagnostic capabilities and medical countermeasures for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. To partially meet these obligations, DHS has requested Congress to appropriate funds to construct a new facility, the Nat. Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), which would house high-containment labs able to handle the pathogens currently under investigation at PIADC, as well as other pathogens of interest. Six candidate sites have been identified, one of which is Plum Island. The DHS plans to select the site in 2009 and open NBAF in 2015. The final construction cost will depend on the site location and has been estimated to range between $648 million and $939 million, significantly exceeding 2005 baseline projections. Additional expenses may exceed an additional $100 million. The plans announced by DHS to establish the NBAF have raised several issues. Community concerns about safety and security, previously expressed about PIADCand other labs being built to study dangerous pathogens, are also being voiced about NBAF. Coordination between DHS and USDA, as well as prioritization and investment in agricultural biodefense, may be reassessed if more high-containment lab space becomes available. Research with live foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus is allowed on the U.S. mainland only if explicitly permitted by the USDA Sec. However, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) instructs USDA to issue such a permit to DHS for possession of FMD virus at NBAF, subject to select agent rules. Tables.

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