Research facility inches closer to federal funding
The $1 billion animal research lab (haltingly) under construction in Manhattan, Kan., got one step closer to federal funding this week.
In a blog item on the “Tracking NBAF” blog, KCUR reporter Laura Ziegler noted that the full House Appropriations Committee approved $75 million in the fiscal year 2013 budget for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). The appropriation had been recommended by the Department of Homeland Security subcommittee.
The full committee also tapped $90 million in funding from fiscal years 2011 and 2012 that had been on hold, possibly bringing the commitment to construction of the NBAF to $165 million.
At the same time, the committee said it wanted to see a plan for how the Department of Homeland Security expects to spend the money as construction moves forward. The estimated cost of the NBAF has escalated to $1.1 billion.
The full House is expected to consider the NBAF funding in a few weeks.
Earlier this year, the White House took out construction funds in its fiscal year 2013 budget in the wake of safety and security questions about the high-level lab.
An updated safety report is currently under review by a panel of experts with the National Research Council. A separate NRC panel is simultaneously reviewing alternatives for the NBAF, including a scaled-down version of the lab and maintaining the existing lab on Plum Island, New York, Ziegler reported.