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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Construction Begins on Kansas Biodefense Facility

Construction began on Tuesday for an auxiliary energy plant for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas, the Associated Press reported.

Work on the $1.2 billion animal disease research site is expected to start next year, according to Jamie Johnson, Homeland Security Department national laboratories director.

The Obama administration requested $714 million for work on the site in the next budget, but the House Appropriations Committee last week signed off on $404 million. The entire lower chamber and the Senate must still decide the final funding level for fiscal 2014, which begins on Oct. 1.

The facility near Kansas State University in Manhattan would research animal diseases that could pose threats to human health and the food supply. It would replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. Some lawmakers and others have expressed concern about placing the site near a major farming region.

Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said the facility would support the safety of Kansas agriculture and food from disease threats.

The $404 million would allow for hiring contractors and starting work on the site, according to Johnson. Another $307 million would come from state bonds, along with $35 million from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

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