Not surprising this week group of powerful Texas politicos including Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) announced via a press release that they are urging DHS to award the NBAF to Texas. 

Late Wednesday U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and the entire Texas Congressional delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailing their continued, unified support for the Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium (TBAC) application as DHS enters the final stage of its site selection of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF).

“The letter emphasizes unique research and workforce capabilities, state contributions, and community support as reasons why the Texas Research Park in San Antonio is the preeminent location for the NBAF.

I will be the first to admit their research and workforce capabilities are  unique. Consider that earlier this year Texas A&M was fined a federal penalty of $1 million bucks for failing to report illnesses and infection in its BSL4 lab, last year. That the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research featured in the latest GAO report had a previous incident where a scared “escaped baboon was running for dear life” at the facility so yes unique is an adjective you could use. Moreover, in the latest GAO report on Biosafety Laboratories subtitled, “Perimeter Security Assessment of the Nation’s Five BSL-4 Laboratories” we learned that in addition to “escaped baboons”,  the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in Texas has a room with a view, not just any view mind you, a view literately straight into the room where they are researching deadly select agents.

In Texas, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research features an outside window that looks directly into the room where the deadly germs are handled. The lab, which is privately run, also lacks sufficient security cameras, intrusion detection alarms or visible armed guards at its public entrances. Officials there said they will tighten security.

The lackadaisical approach toward “anything” biolab in Texas scares me and I live here. How in the blazes can they have “community support” for their current biological research labs much less the NBAF. Greg Harmon who writes for the San Antonio Current has been the only vocal critic of this project I can find, he tells it like it is and good for him. Ironically one of the NBAF’s most vocal media crtics in NC, Lisa Sorg of Independent Weekly used to be a former Current staffer (according to Harmon), you go girl. This all just leads me to ask, Um does folks in Texas read anymore?

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