North Carolina Site Selected as Finalist for National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

Lab would have $1.65 billion economic impact

U.S. Senator Richard Burr today announced that the North Carolina Consortium, headed by the University of North Carolina System and North Carolina State University, has been selected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as one of five finalists for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). If selected, the North Carolina NBAF site will be located in Granville County and will be a next-generation biological and agricultural defense facility. The facility will support the missions of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in protecting U.S. agriculture from a bioterrorist attack

"The National Bio and Agro-Defense facility presents an excellent opportunity for North Carolina to develop economically while improving national security," Burr said. "I look forward to working with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure this facility meets the security needs of our nation's agriculture system. I remain committed to ensuring that North Carolina receives fair and equal consideration in the selection process."

"I could not be more excited that North Carolina is on the short list for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. I am proud that North Carolina State University put together a first-rate scientific team and a consortium to express interest to the Department of Homeland Security, and I am thrilled that our good friend, Senator Richard Burr helped our team meet with all of the right people in Washington," said Erskine Bowles, President of the University of North Carolina. "The fact that North Carolina is still in the running just goes to show how much respect the federal government has for our universities, our faculty, our training capability, and the many partners that will build a state-of-the-art research facility in Granville County."

The NBAF facility will span over 500,000 square feet and employ between 250 and 400 scientists, technicians, and support staff. The Federal contribution is expected to be half a billion dollars invested in site development. The North Carolina Department of Commerce estimates this project would have a $1.65 billion economic impact over the next twenty years. DHS will now conduct environmental impact studies of all five remaining sites and solicit input from the public. A final decision on the location of NBAF is expected in 2008. Other finalists include consortiums from Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, and Texas.