by Lisa Sorg
If you’re still unconvinced that the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility would have been a bad deal for North Carolina, then read today’s Washington Post story about the Department of Homeland Security’s “rushed, flawed study” to justify its decision to locate the federal disease research lab in Kansas.
The Government Accountability Office issued the study, a draft of which the Post obtained, which went on to say the department's analysis was not "scientifically defensible" in concluding that it could safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas—or any other location on the U.S. mainland.
Repeat: Or any other location on the U.S. mainland. That would include Butner, one of six finalists for the federal disease research lab. Butner fell out of the running after citizen activists with the Granville Nonviolent Action Team persuaded elected local, state and federal officials to withdraw their support.
The Post quotes the GAO's draft report as saying the agency's assessment of the risk of accidental release of toxins on mainland locations, including Kansas, was based on "unrepresentative accident scenarios," "outdated modeling" and "inadequate" information about the sites. The agency's analysis of the economic impact of domestic cattle being infected by foot-and-mouth disease played down the financial losses by not considering the worst-case scenario.
Congress still has not funded the project, which is in litigation after Texas sued Homeland Security, alleging the department’s decision to site the NBAF in Kansas was politically motivated. Texas wants the facility.