Lawmakers on Tuesday approved the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, including $300 million for construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, an amount that builds on the $404 million appropriated for the construction of NBAF in FY2014
The funding is a "critical step forward" to finish construction of the lab in Manhattan, Kan., said the U.S. Senators representing Kansas – Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran.
"As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am committed to making certain NBAF remains a top priority," Sen. Moran said.
"This $300 million investment solidifies Congressional support for the construction of a modern, world-class facility in Manhattan, Kansas, which will protect Americans against biological threats," Moran said.
Roberts added that the building will provide opportunities for students and jobseekers.
A January, 2012, economic impact report found the NBAF will employ approximately 326 permanent employees and support some 757 construction jobs.
The facility is expected to have a $3.5 billion economic impact on Kansas in the first 20 years alone.
According to a statement from Sen. Moran's office, NBAF will protect the national economy by researching foreign animal disease threats. The cost of an outbreak, the statement said, far outweighs the NBAF construction cost, not only in the loss of human life but also its damage to the animal and agricultural industry.
The main laboratory will boast safety and security features recommended by the National Academies of Sciences. It will include specialized air and water decontamination systems, new technologies for handling solid waste onsite, and structural components to strengthen the laboratory against hazardous weather conditions.
A funding commitment was also made to provide infrastructure repairs at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center to guarantee a smooth transition of research from Plum Island, N.Y., to Manhattan, Kan.
The committee-approved bill now awaits passage by the full U.S. Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives has also passed their Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill with funding for NBAF out of committee, but it also awaits passage on the floor.