U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today issued the following joint statement after the release of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science's (NAS) Evaluation of the Updated Site-Specific Risk Assessment for the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, Kansas:
"We are pleased the National Academy of Sciences has completed this evaluation, which meets all the requirements enacted by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012. The Department of Homeland Security has developed a sound design for the NBAF in Manhattan that goes above and beyond established regulatory standards and ensures heightened safety measures. While we do not agree on some aspects of the evaluation, the National Academy of Sciences fittingly recognizes that NBAF would be a critical asset in securing the future health, wealth and security of the nation. We call on the Department of Homeland Security to release the funds for the Central Utilities Plant and to begin construction immediately."
The Committee Members of the NAS who were involved with the assessment clearly state: "the United States needs the capacity to support critical research and diagnostic programs for the study of foreign animal diseases and zoonotic diseases that are directly linked to securing the health and wealth of the nation."
The completion of this study is the final legislative requirement prior to signing the land transfer and releasing previously appropriated funds for the construction of the Central Utilities Plant.
In June, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations appropriated $75 million for NBAF construction. The Senate is expected to debate the legislation this summer.