NBAF foes vow to sue over proposed animal disease lab in Athens

8 09 2008

A group opposed to a massive animal disease research laboratory says it will sue if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security chooses to build the lab in Athens.

Athens FAQ, a group formed to fight the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, submitted a 132-page comment to Homeland Security last week laying the groundwork for a lawsuit should federal officials pick a 67-acre University of Georgia-owned site off South Milledge Avenue from among five finalists.

“That site is just not appropriate for NBAF, and we have the National Environmental Protection Act on our side,” FAQ co-founder Grady Thrasher said. “They can’t twist and turn … to say it won’t be an environmental disaster.”

The document, prepared by the Atlanta environmental law firm Stack & Associates, alleges that Homeland Security violated federal sunshine and environmental laws, criticizes a 1,000-page federal study of potential sites for the NBAF and makes the case for building the lab on Plum Island, N.Y., home of the Animal Disease Center that NBAF is designed replace.

“(B)ringing deadly foreign diseases onto the mainland puts the entire nation at great risk, and is clearly not justified considering the safer location of Plum Island and Homeland Security’s overarching mandate to protect the public,” the comment says. “A mainland NBAF would not protect the general public, the environment, the economy or the United States’ security interests.

“An Athens, Georgia, NBAF is an especially outrageous option.”

Read on here.

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