Kansas leaders fear potential lawsuit against moving bio-defense facilty to Manhattan will delay project
TOPEKA — Top Kansas officials on Wednesday criticized a Texas group that plans to file a lawsuit over the selection of Kansas as site for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility.
“I am deeply concerned that legal action will only delay the NBAF mission, placing our national security and food supply at risk,” Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
The Texas consortium of researchers alleges that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security improperly picked Manhattan, Kan., over San Antonio for the location of the $450 million lab that will study deadly diseases that could pose a threat to the food supply and public health.
Sebelius said Kansas was selected out of six finalists in a fair process that was free of politics.
“Kansas presented a credible pathway to jump-start the NBAF’s critical research mission and committed funding to do so,” she said. “The Department of Homeland Security deserves commendation, not litigation, for their appropriately comprehensive, fair and unbiased selection process.”
The Texas Biological and Agro-Defense Consortium has filed notice in federal court that it intends to sue.
In a news release, the group alleges that there were irregularities in Homeland Security’s decision-making process, political influence and disregard for public safety.
Tom Thornton, president of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, said Kansas was selected for its leadership role in animal health research, a concentration of animal health companies, and state-of-the-art facilities already built on the Kansas State University campus.