Associated Press — The federal government has asked Kansas and other states vying for a new Department of Homeland Security laboratory to commit to building a power plant for the facility, officials confirmed Friday.

“They want a totally self-sustained operation,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said.

Sebelius said the state is looking at what a plant would cost and how it would be funded.

“There was a number thrown out by the feds that we think is just wrong for Kansas,” she said.

Homeland Security has proposed a $450 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility that would focus on potential food supply threats. DHS has requested that the facility have a separate gas-fired power plant, Sebelius said.

Six sites, including Kansas State University, are in the running for the lab.

Governor says feds want NBAF site to have own power plant

Associated Press – March 14, 2008 1:34 PM ET

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says the federal government wants the site of new biodefense laboratory to have its own power plant.

Kansas and four other states are competing for the $451 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility. It would replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y.

Sebelius said during a news conference Friday that Department of Homeland Security officials notified the states of the new requirement last month.

She said she doesn’t know how much the plant will cost but said Kansas officials are working on a proposal. She said the federal government has specified that the plant burn natural gas to generate electricity.

Kansas is competing against Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas for the new lab.

Breaking News: The Kansas Republican

Dept Homeland Security Forces Sebelius to ask Legislature for new Manhattan Power Plant

The stakes have never been higher for Kansas. Holcomb and NBAF represent the largest job growth and money injection opportunity in recent Kansas history.
However, if the NBAF deal fails, there’s already talk trying to split the blame between Sebelius and Sen Roberts. But this is strictly state politics and we cannot lose focus. The future of NBAF lies in the hands of Sebelius and her ability to get a bond deal through the legislature in 2 weeks. She wants a power plant for Manhattan; Neufeld and Morris want a power plant for Western Kansas.

I reiterate the million dollar question: Does Sebelius thinks CO2 emissions are worth sacrificing all the jobs and money that Holcomb and NBAF would bring to Kansas? Furthermore, are Neufeld and Morris good enough to cut a workable deal?I’m cautiously optimistic for Kansas here, but these three Kansas cats are hardly predictable. So who knows…..
I just got off the phone with Carrie who’s informed me of some juicy gossip that’s emerged from discussions within the Sebelius administration. These are the details.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security contacted all the potential candidates for the new NBAF site, including Sebelius’ office, with an additional requirement for the project. In short, the host state/city would have to construct and finance a central utility plant for the NBAF facility. The new power plant would serve as the primary (and exclusive) power source for NBAF, and the Manhattan city-grid would operate as the backup.

The Governor’s legacy is riding on the NBAF deal, and she’s adamant that it get built. And when Sebelius is not campaigning for Obama, she’s been working with Westar, KS Gas and the KBA on a solution. But here is the kicker.

The new power plant would cost the state between $85-90 million, and Sebelius is crafting a proposal that would use state bonds to cover the costs. (keep in mind, this would put the final cost of the project at $120-140 million.) Moreover, the Governor has until the end of the month to present DHS with a workable financing package.

Hat Tip Matt