Kudos goes to Robert K. Schaeffer of Manhattan, Kansas for a moment of critical thinking regarding the National Bio and Agro Defense Factiliy, (NBAF) and it’s risk to the community of Manhattan,KS.
Proponents of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility argue that the risk is low of accidentally or intentionally releasing lethal pathogens (anthrax, plague) from the germ lab. But it is not up to government officials to assess the level of risk. Instead, the private insurance companies that provide coverage to households and businesses in Manhattan will determine the level of risk.
If insurance companies view the risk of NBAF as low — as rare as an earthquake in Kansas — households might pay about 5 percent more on their insurance policies, about $40 a year, according to insurance company estimates. Together, the 19,170 households in Manhattan would pay $766,800 a year, or $7.6 million over the next 10 years, to protect themselves from a big government project that puts their lives and property at risk.
But if insurance companies view the risk as high — as risky as a major quake in California — households could see their insurance premiums rise by 60 percent or $480 a year, which would amount to $9.2 million annually or $92 million over the next 10 years.
Federal and state officials should answer these questions: Will insurance companies provide coverage for the risks associated with NBAF? How much will premiums increase for households, businesses and Kansas State University? And what will they do if companies refuse to offer coverage or if they charge prohibitive rates?
ROBERT K. SCHAEFFER
Clearly the NBAF will be a money-maker for all “Businesses”, but what of the communities who will host and fund the facility? Folks in Butner, North Carolina and Athens, Georgia have already spoken, been there and have a T-shirt. What’s the old saying “if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is? Wake-up Kansas! The threat of Foot and Mouth disease for farmers should be a pricey proposition, don’t you think? Or do you?