by Lisa Sorg
Texas has raised the ante in the bidding war for the National Bio- and Agro Defense Facility, offering $100 million in incentives to entice the Department of Homeland Security to build the animal disease research lab there, according to the San Antonio Business Journal.
North Carolina, which is among the five finalists, did not make such an offer, largely due to eroding support for the project among citizens and elected leaders. A $25 million appropriation earmarked for the facility languished in the legislature and was not included in the governor's budget.
The NBAF will study some of the world's most dangerous diseases, including at least two transmissible to humans. The project is saddled with questions and concerns about public safety and environmental hazards; the 1,000-page draft environmental impact statement, released in June by Homeland Security, did not address many of those issues. The N.C. Consortium, which lobbied for the NBAF to be sited in Butner, reportedly has backed off its efforts to bring it here.