National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility: Issues for Congress [Updated November 25, 2008] [open pdf - 180KB]
"The agricultural and food infrastructure of the United States is potentially susceptible to terrorist attack using biological pathogens. In addition to the effects of such an attack on the economy, some animal diseases could potentially be transmitted to humans. These diseases are known as zoonotic diseases. Scientific and medical research on plant and animal diseases may lead to the discovery and development of new diagnostics and countermeasures, reducing the risk and effects of a successful terrorist attack. [...]. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 tasks the Secretaries of Agriculture and Homeland Security to develop a plan to provide safe, secure, and state-of-the-art agriculture biocontainment laboratories for research and development of diagnostic capabilities and medical countermeasures for foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. To partially meet these obligations, DHS has requested Congress to appropriate funds to construct a new facility, the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). This facility would house high-containment laboratories able to handle the pathogens currently under investigation at PIADC, as well as other pathogens of interest. Six candidate sites have been identified, one of which is Plum Island. The DHS plans to select the site in 2009 and open NBAF in 2015. The final construction cost will depend on the site location and has been estimated to range between $648 million and $939 million, significantly exceeding 2005 baseline projections. Additional expenses, such as equipping the new facility, relocating existing personnel and programs, and preparing the PIADC facility for disposition, may exceed an additional $100 million."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34160