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Mr. HUELSKAMP. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on the topic of NBAF. As has been mentioned by my colleague from Kansas, currently in the United States there is not a single research facility that is able to conduct research at Biosafety Level 4.
The NBAF facility being discussed here today and that would be funded in this particular bill will provide critical research in areas, again, that are not able to be researched currently in this country--things such as African swine fever, Rift Valley fever, the Nipah virus, and the Hendra virus.
I repeat. We currently, as a country, without this facility, are required to outsource this particular research to other countries.
As a Kansas farmer and rancher, I recognize the critical damage that would be done to our livestock industries if we do not proceed forth with construction of NBAF.
Indeed, shovels are being turned in Manhattan, Kansas, today. The central utility plant that is related to this, construction is proceeding underway. The State of Kansas has agreed to pay a substantial sum to assist for the cost of construction of this facility.
And, as was indicated earlier, the current facility that served for over 50 years is aging at Plum Island and needs to be replaced. The Manhattan, Kansas, site was selected by a panel of more than 25 scientists. DHS and USDA experts agree this is the best place to build NBAF and provide the critical research that is necessary not just to protect the outbreak of foreign animal diseases that might be accidental, but to protect America and our livestock industries from mass destruction from terrorism and numerous other attacks that could use these particular foreign animal diseases and other things.
One other connection I will note: these are diseases that in many cases not only impact the livestock industries, but are zoonotic and can impact humans. This research needs to be done. We need to continue with construction in order to protect our livestock and our human health in this country.
I yield back the balance of my time, Madam Chair.
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