The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved July 18 the Homeland Security Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Bill, which includes $404 million for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), an amount equal to House approved appropriations language and a critical step forward for the lab under construction in Manhattan, Kan.
“Not only is this $404 million a significant investment in the project, it is also proof the appropriators agree with the House and the Administration that this effort is a national security priority,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.)
“It’s encouraging that both the House and Senate have committed to funding levels of $404 million to make certain construction of the main laboratory begins in tandem with the Central Utility Plant which is already underway,” added Sen. Jerry Moran (R., Kan.). “NBAF is critical to our national security in protecting our agriculture, economy and citizens from biological and zoonotic threats, and I’m pleased we’ve prioritized this investment.”
Roberts and Moran noted in a statement the main laboratory will boast safety and security features recommended by the National Academies of Sciences. It will include specialized air and water decontamination systems, new technologies for handling solid waste onsite, and structural components to strengthen the laboratory against hazardous weather conditions. A funding commitment was also made to provide infrastructure repairs at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to guarantee a smooth transition of research from Plum Island, N.Y., to Manhattan, Kan.
The committee approved bill now awaits passage by the full U.S. Senate.