Obama is asking the Department of Homeland Security to re-evaluate the project, while spending $10 million to increase the amount of research being done at Kansas State’s Biosecurity Research Institute.
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.