Archive for November 22, 2008


For those who have anxiously awaited the release of DHS’s National Bio Agro Defense Facilitys (NBAF), Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) your wait may soon be over, according to a Manhattan, Kansas newspaper, The Manhattan Mercury. But don’t worry it will not come in time to interfere with the digestion of your Thanksgiving meal. In their article, “Word on NBAF likely by Dec. 5” they quote John Verrico, DHS’s  press officer for the Science and Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security stating that “a likely release date” for the FEIS would be during “the first week of December.”

Granville Non Violent Action Team’s spokesperson Bill McKellar, a Pharmacist in Butner said he “feels at this point it is between Kansas, Mississippi and Texas”. “Kansas having worked the hardest to bring it there. But it’s not over until the record of decision is made” and “until that decision is made we are not letting our guard down” McKellar said referring to his anti-NBAF group GNAT, “Until then it could go anywhere”.

McKellar and his group GNAT have amassed a petition with over 4500 signatures from citizens in Butner and the surrounding area opposing the placement of the NBAF on the Umstead Research Farm. In September GNAT joined with other citizen groups throughout the U.S. in an appeal to Congress to investigate the current expansion of the United States biodefense program and the lack of comprehensive oversight, transparency and accountability. The allied groups are calling on Congress to press for an immediate halt to development of new biodefense facilities and an operational stand-down of existing programs until the many serious questions have been resolved.

Community Acceptance aside the Department of Homeland Security having held a series of public meetings is expected to ratify the selected site in the FEIS. McKellar has not be quite concerning what steps his group will take if Butner is selected. At the Butner meeting held July 31st McKellar told a Homeland Security Administrator, Jamie Johnson that if Homeland Security chooses the Butner site “further action would be forthcoming”. “If the NBAF is located at Butner, then DHS will be taken to court.” “Whatever we have to do, that is what we will do,” McKellar promised.  Whatever it Takes!


The following video produced by Wired Science has an interesting slant as to why Plum Island isn’t a viable choice for the NBAF. Some of the cited reasons against the NBAF being build on Plum Island.

“Plum Island does not have proximity to research capabilities, it does have proximity to workforce, no feasible evacuation. Anybody that has driven the Long Island freeway knows there would be no way” 

Does a evacuation route really matter? I point this perspective out for one reason, the proposed site in Butner is surrounded by approximately 7000 institutionalized individuals within a four mile radius of the project and a recent comment made by a principal member of the consortium representing North Carolina’s bid for the NBAF project said that an evacution plan for these facilities is moot.

The list of human-affecting agents to be researched at the NBAF includes no disease that spreads from person to person, nor any agent that spreads by wind. As a result, a release would not call for instituting human quarantines or evacuations — making the arguments about such activities for prisoners or patients moot.

It should be noted that DHS does not mention or evaluate an evacuation plan or quarantine procedures  for the surrounding population at any of the proposed sites in the NBAF draft Environment Impact Statement. DHS does evaluate potential strategies in the event of a release of Foot and Mouth Disease in which humans are assessed within the “movement control zone” per strategies developed by the National Park Service. See Table 3.8.9-1 — National Park Service Potential Strategies and Considerations for FMD Response on page 3-216 of the DEIS. Should we expect DHS to select a site for the NBAF that will be the safest or at least have the least environmental consequencies? No

“The decision maker (Jay Cohen) does not need to pick the site that has the least environmental impacts he just needs to be aware of what those impacts are”.

Hat/Tip: BethB

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