Kansas officials were stunned and upset to learn that President Barack Obama recommended no additional funding for construction of a new biosecurity lab to replace the one at Plum Island, jeopardizing a high-visibility project that the state had seen as a powerful engine of economic growth.
The spending plan from Obama also said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will reassess the viability of the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility planned for Manhattan, near Kansas State University. The project would cost an estimated $650 million and would replace an aging facility at Plum Island.
Workers have already cleared the Kansas site, and the state has committed itself to authorizing up to $105 million in bonds to help with the project. State officials envisioned the lab, which would research foot-and-mouth and other dangerous animal diseases, as a key part of an emerging biosciences industry.