Kansans in D.C. to tout Leavenworth, Manhattan sites for bio lab
A Kansas delegation made the rounds last week in Washington, D.C., making the case for the Sunflower State to be chosen as the site of a planned $450 million biosecurity lab.
"We continue to believe ... that we have the best site," said Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, leader of the delegation that included representatives of private industry, state and local government.
The group is trying to bring the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, scheduled to be built starting in 2010, to Kansas. Two Kansas sites -- one on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan and one at the western edge of Fort Leavenworth -- are among 18 finalists nationwide for the site.
The delegation met with leaders from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security for about an hour on Tuesday, March 13, then strategized with members of Kansas' congressional delegation, Parkinson said. More than a dozen Kansans made the trip to Washington, D.C., including the mayors of Leavenworth and Manhattan, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky, representatives of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, and Paul Casady, vice president of Intervet International, a veterinary medicine company with offices in De Soto.
Ten other states are in the running for the lab, ranging from California to Maryland, and some already have made similar visits to D.C., Parkinson said. He said that Ron DeHaven, administrator of the USDA's animal and plant health inspection service, told the group during a meeting that it was the third or fourth state delegation he'd met so far.
"We know that these other states are very serious, just like we are," Parkinson said.
The next step in the process will come April 18 and 19, when representatives from the federal government come to Kansas to tour both sites. In June, the list is expected to be pared down to two or three finalists.
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