Havre Daily News: Tester: Report confirms fears on moving livestock lab

Montana’s junior senator, Democrat Jon Tester, cited a study released Monday as showing more research and planning is needed before the Department of Homeland Security moves forward with moving an agricultural disease research laboratory to Kansas.

“This report tells us that there’s more homework to do and a long way to go before this facility is ready for prime time,” Tester said in a release Monday. “When it comes to being careful with our country’s agriculture industry and making good use of taxpayer dollars, DHS needs to do a better job of measuring twice and cutting once, not the other way around.”

The proposal is to move the research from the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center located nearly 2 miles off Long Island, N.Y, to a new National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.

Saying he was concerned that the location, in the middle of U.S. cattle country, could lead to outbreaks of disease impacting the industry across the nation including in Montana, Tester added a requirement to the 2009 Homeland Security Appropriations Act requiring additional study before appropriations for the facility were approved.

That study, conducted by the National Research Council, found that the DHS studies had shortcomings, including insufficient data and experience to account for new and unknown risks.

Read the whole article »