Tom Randall’s recent letter supporting the NBAF follows a pattern we have seen in other pro-NBAF letters: cheerleading in the most general manner, while ignoring the specific problems posed by the NBAF. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Randall says he would be comfortable working in a high-containment lab … if he had experience with the organisms to be studied there. He doesn’t, and neither do other area researchers, because there is only one place where scientists do high-containment large animal research: Plum Island.

Randall trusts lab researchers to be concerned not to release disease organisms into their own backyard. The statistics betray his argument: of the 103 disease releases in high-containment labs over the past four years, 90 were due to human error.

Those humans who work there may choose to do so, but the rest of us won’t have a choice about living in the area unless we are able to move. The 7,000 institutionalized people who live within two miles of the proposed site have absolutely no choice. It is morally wrong to place such inherently dangerous work among our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

John Monroe

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