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Senator Pat Roberts Introduces NBAF Mission Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today introduced a bipartisan bill, along with Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to affirm the mission of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) that is currently being built in Manhattan, Kansas.

“NBAF is a historic economic and scientific achievement for Kansas. The hundreds of high-paying jobs created at NBAF will provide opportunities for generations of Kansans and will spur research partnerships across the entire state,” said Sen. Roberts. “NBAF is a national security asset that will serve a critical role in protecting our nation’s animal health. The research and development at this facility is vital in protecting against bio and agro-terrorism threats, one of my greatest concerns.”

NBAF was created as a national security laboratory asset that will serve as a biosafety level 4 animal health research and development facility for the defense against bio-and agro-terrorism threats. This bill directs NBAF to carry out relevant objectives of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 and the National Biodefense Strategy, both aimed at securing our nation’s food and agriculture.

The bill also outlines the national security mission of the facility and the duties of the agencies responsible for implementing that mission, including research, training, and coordination efforts related to animal health, veterinary countermeasure development, emerging foreign animal disease threats, and threat detection.

Senator Roberts has worked for more than 20 years to create NBAF and build it in Kansas. In 1999, as the first Chairman of the newly-formed Emerging Threats Subcommittee, Sen. Roberts became aware of the threats our nation faced against intentionally introduced pathogens weaponized and aimed at destroying plant and animal populations. During a congressional delegation trip to Obolensk, one of Russia’s secret cities, he saw firsthand production and storage facilities for biological weapons, including anthrax.

Once construction is complete, NBAF, located in a 500,000 square foot building, will create as many as 500 high-paying, scientific federal jobs in the state of Kansas, plus will bring in additional jobs in research partnerships in the state. Over a 20 year period, it is estimated the facility will have a $3.5 billion impact on the Kansas economy. The construction of the facility is also expected to create 1,500 construction jobs.

NBAF is expected to be operational in 2022.

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All Information was gathered from publicly available US Government releases. "§105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise. ( Pub. L. 94–553, title I, §101, Oct. 19, 1976, 90 Stat. 2546 .)" http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:17%20section:105%20edition:prelim)