The US government wants to build yet another high containment laboratory to "research" agents of high risk. This one is supposed to replace the aging facility at Plum Island, New York. Maybe your state is one of the ones bidding for this laboratory. You might even have read about it in your local newspaper or heard about in on your local TV station, like this one in North Carolina:
A dozen states including North Carolina are competing for a government research lab full of killer germs like anthrax, avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease -- a prospect some of their residents want to avoid like the plague. (WSOCTV.com)
Or this one in Wisconsin:
A dozen states including Wisconsin are competing intensely to play host to a government research lab full of killer germs like anthrax, avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease -- a prospect some of their residents want to avoid like the plague. (Appleton Wisconsin Post Crescent)
Or maybe on some national news source, like Fox News:
A dozen states are competing for a government research lab full of killer germs like anthrax, avian flu and foot-and-mouth disease -- a prospect some of their residents want to avoid like the plague. (Fox News)
These are all the same AP wire story with "including state X" inserted after the third word. It's a "local" story because there are bucks for local construction work and jobs, although it is only a temporary fix. Besides construction, there are at most 300 new jobs for a community, many for highly specialized workers. So it is a bit of a Faustian bargain. The successful site will require at least 30 acres of land, so it isn't likely to be a densely populated urban setting. Seventeen sites are applying, but they will have to pony up something to get a let up. Things like roads, cheap water supplies and discounted utilities. Worth it? For 300 jobs? I guess they think so in Texas, where four sites are competing. Texas already has two BSL-4 (high containment) laboratories. They need another? Texas and a bunch of other states:
Besides Texas, which has a total of four sites in contention, states bidding for the site are California, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin. Georgia, Kansas and Mississippi are offering two sites each, while Kentucky and Tennessee are working together for one site in Kentucky.
DHS officials will visit the fourth site in Texas on Wednesday and finish the week in Missouri. A stop in North Carolina will finish the visits.
As we have noted here before, people in these communities are not always happy about the prospect of having a high containment facility handling the world's most dangerous agents.
Faust sold his soul to the Devil for worldly advantage. Some bargain.
Funny, I have not heard anything about this on NC blogs - actually this is the very first I hear about this.
I hear "Plum Island," and I think Silence of the Lambs. My brain is rotted. . . .
Pork barrel politics at its "finest".
But you won't hear too many public objections to this one. Because, just as with the DHS giveaway, the local municipalities are being co-opted in the looting and pillaging of public monies.
Lets face it...all science related projects, or the vast majority, are "pork" when it comes down to it. A BSL-4 lab will not pay for itself...but its not supposed to. Cambridge doesn't make money being nice to MIT, they make money on the tech industries built around MIT. Having a prestigeous, high-grade laboratory in states actively cultivating a biotech industry (both NC and Wisconsin) has benefits beyond the jobs of that specific site.