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DHS Pathogen Lab To Be Built In "Tornado Alley"

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-think-we're-in-kansas-anymore dept.

Biotech 275

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Department of Homeland Security is relying on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate the $700 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas. A GAO report says that it is not 'scientifically defensible' to conclude that lab can safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas. Such research has been conducted up to now on a remote island on the northern tip of Long Island, NY. 'Drawing conclusions about relocating research with highly infectious exotic animal pathogens from questionable methodology could result in regrettable consequences,' the GAO warned in its draft report. Critics of moving the operation to the mainland argue that a release could lead to widespread contamination that could kill livestock, devastate a farm economy, and endanger humans. Along with the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, NBAF researchers plan to study African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, and other viruses in the Biosafety Level (BSL) 3 and BSL-4 livestock laboratory capable of developing countermeasures for foreign animal diseases. According to the article, DHS lobbied a Congressional committee to try and convince them that the GAO report was flawed, and to head off any hearings on the controversy. Despite this, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the risk analysis."

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275 comments

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Just passing through, on the way to Rome (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845317)

"My watch stopped."

"Durn shame."

"It's because of the heat." /obscure

Re:Just passing through, on the way to Rome (2, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845413)

"It's because of the heat."

Nah....it's the humidity.

Two Words (4, Insightful)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845331)

Andromeda Strain [wikipedia.org]

Re:Two Words (5, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845379)

True, putting the lab underground should prevent any problems.

Actually, putting the lab in anything but a trailerpark should reduce any risk a reasonable amount.

Re:Two Words (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846135)

Yup -- Kansas Neo-Sod House chic. But the article does use the ominous word, "erecting" where "burying" would be more hopeful.

Not offtopic, dumbasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845673)

If you don't understand a comment, don't moderate it. The Andromeda Strain used exactly this scenario -- a high-level pathogen research lab built in the middle of BFE, Kansas.

Re:Not offtopic, dumbasses (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845729)

If moderators don't understand it, then it wasn't explained well enough.

Re:Not offtopic, dumbasses (2, Informative)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845925)

Well, except that it wasn't in Kansas, nor was it in a location especially noted for tornados, or earthquakes, or much of any recent climatic or geologic problems.

"Hey, I know!" (-1, Flamebait)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845383)

"Let's put the level 5 infectious disease lab right smack in the dead center middle of the continent! Then it'll be handy to all those farms and cows and stuff, if they get sick or something right?"

Behold, the bureaucratic mind.

And you Democrat voters want more of this, not less?

Re:"Hey, I know!" (4, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845451)

Let's put the level 5 infectious disease lab right smack in the dead center middle of the continent!

Nah, lets put it in a far more geographically stable area like California, or a more meteorologically stable area like Florida!

Playing devil's advocate here, clearly this isn't the best location for such a facility but I don't think "being in the middle of the continent" has anything to do with that.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (3, Insightful)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845645)

Let me count the ways its a bad idea.

1. All samples have to come from "someplace else" to the middle of the continental USA, where everybody lives. Plane crash? Car crash? Train derailment? Stupid screw up (oh that could never happen, right?) Your bug is loose in frickin' Kansas. The middle of the continent. Perfect set up for it to spread.
2. Any agriculture bug you're testing? You're surrounded by... agriculture! Better hope you don't have a test tube break.
3. People live right outside. See #2.
4. How many super duper Level 5 trained people want to move to Cow's Butt, Kansas?
5. Almost forgot, tornadoes.

I'm not even trained in this specialty, I came up with that off the top of my head. The little island off the NY coast is a -good- place. A better place would be an island off the coast of Alaska, or in the middle of the Pacific.

But hey, I'm "flamebait" for suggesting that this kind of stunning stupidity is BUSINESS AS USUAL for the f-ing MUTANTS who run the US government. Fire them all.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845703)

I'm not even trained

Clearly. FYI, but not everybody lives in the middle of the continent. The vast majority of the population lives on the two coasts, not in the middle. Kansas specifically has a relatively sparse population. A better location would be somewhere in North Dakota, where you've got the smallest population density in the continental US and the cold would also help alleviate any spread.

The little island off the NY coast is a -good- place.

Maybe so, if you ignore the fact that it's next door to the largest population center in North America.

But hey, I'm "flamebait" for suggesting that this kind of stunning stupidity is BUSINESS AS USUAL

No, you're flamebait for suggesting that any single political party, and all of its constituents, is to blame for the general stupidity coming out of the government. Not to mention that you assume the constituents of any party actually want to see stupidity from the government. That's why you're flamebait.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845835)

The little island off the NY coast is a -good- place.

Maybe so, if you ignore the fact that it's next door to the largest population center in North America.

However, the prevailing winds blow offshore. I think Ireland is downwind. I do realize that winds blow from all directions occasionally.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (3, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846011)

Typical New Englander mentality: Fuck the Irish.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2, Insightful)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845865)

Actually I suggested that Democrats are the party of more government, which I take from this debacle to be a bad thing. Only government lobbying and wheeling/dealing can create situations this infernally stupid.

If you RTFA you'll discover that the governor of Kansas is indeed a Democrat, but the two Senators pushing the thing are REPUBLICANS, which only goes to show that the answer is not having the "right" party in power. The only solution is to have -less- government, with less money to create dangerous situations like this.

But don't feel too bad. The Canadian super duper bug lab is in Winnipeg. That's a city pretty much in the middle of the country. Government funded assholery is international.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845891)

Long Island isn't known for regularly-occurring natural disasters. Kansas is.

However, your suggestion of North Dakota is a very good one. It's even more sparsely-populated than Kansas, and there's never any natural disasters there, unless you count -40 temperatures (which as you point out are a good thing for this application).

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845725)

1. All samples have to come from someplace else no matter where you are
2. Not disputed.
3. People in the surrounding area will be an even bigger issue outside of the mid-west.
4. That's more of a HR issue than anything else. My guess is it wouldn't be that big of an issue. How many super duper Level 5 trained people want to move out to some little island in the middle of the fucking Pacific ocean?
5. I never argued that.

Oh, and you were modded flamebait because you decided to include seemingly partisan political attacks in your post and the mod in question didn't think it was clever enough to be a proper troll.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (4, Funny)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845857)

>4. That's more of a HR issue than anything else. My guess is it wouldn't be that big of an issue. How many super duper Level 5 trained people want to move out to some little island in the middle of the fucking Pacific ocean?

Substantially more than want to move to Kansas?

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845983)

4. That's more of a HR issue than anything else. My guess is it wouldn't be that big of an issue. How many super duper Level 5 trained people want to move out to some little island in the middle of the fucking Pacific ocean?

If it's a nice island, I imagine you'll have a much easier time recruiting great candidates to there rather than Kansas. I, for one, would be happy to live on a nice tropical Pacific island as long as there's at least a town there, and good internet access. But there's no way you'll ever get me to move to Kansas.

However, it did occur to me that they have hurricanes in the Pacific, so wouldn't that be a danger to putting a research station like this on someplace like Guam?

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846041)

Guam has over 100,000 people on it and a busy airport full of Japanese tourists. Bad choice. Better choice would be to rent one of the uninhabitable pitcairn islands from the UK (I believe there's four islands incapable of sustaining human life on their own--just dry rocks really--but they're on a major shipping lane at least).

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2, Interesting)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846025)

I'm rated troll now. :)

But on topic,
1. yes, samples come from somewhere but they don't escape to anywhere important if you crash on an isolated island. They do if you crash in Kansas. Or drop the sample box on the runway.
3. There's plenty enough people in the mid-west for an escaped bug to spread through. And isn't the point of a secure Level 5 lab to make people -safer-?
4. People will be expected to -live- in Kansas and drive to work. (Thereby radically increasing the chance of spreading bugs, btw.) No one will be expected to live full time on Dr. No's Pacific island. They will do rotations and live someplace where they want to be.
5. No, you didn't.

Isolated island good. Farmer's field in Kansas, bad.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2, Insightful)

cenc (1310167) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846163)

6. Much of the population does not believe in Evolution.

What a great place to do evolution dependent research.

Wait a second. If they don't believe in Evolution, then it none of it is really dangerous.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (4, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845547)

The way you tried to turn this into a Dems bad/ Reps good issue is incredibly boneheaded. When some nasty pathogen gets loose, I plan to blame you personally because by subverting this argument to your pathetic politics you have undercut all rational discussion that might have prevented the apocalypse. The deaths of 99% of the human race will be personally on your head, and you will be the most thoroughly damned person ever to live. The survivors will eventually make a movie, where Snake Pliskin and a time traveling robot simultaneously hunt you down, join forces in the end, attach chains to opposite sides of your head, and rip your brain in half to the cheers of the entire surviving population. You will be played by John Warner in a fat suit, and he will set the scene by portraying you eating Dalmatian puppies.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (-1, Troll)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845693)

I bet you a donut the retard pushing this is a Democrat.

And Snake Pliskin is a rug in my den.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1, Insightful)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845909)

Shazam! The governor of Kansas is ...[drum roll]... a DEMOCRAT! And has indeed been lobbying for this. Sadly the two senators for Kansas who have also been lobbying are REPUBLICANS, which gets back to my less government is better government theme. Two parties, both populated by idiots. Awesome!

Snake Pliskin says hi, btw.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845931)

Your karma called; it wants to know why you hate it so much.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846053)

So far I'm ahead on karma points, AC dude.

Re:"Hey, I know!" (2, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846049)

I bet you more will get done about this by people who first look to see who endorses it than who worry first about what party they associate with. Get the names of people involved. Don't even start off by describing them as 'bureaucratic' until you know a few job titles and such. See if any of them are scientists, MD's, representitives. Senators, business leaders, or lobbyists, find out who is on a federal public payroll, who is state funded, and who is on a private one, and then, if it still looks important, yes by then you might want to check party affiliations. But all rushing that part does is alienates some people who might give a damn otherwise.

Oh, and Snake probably won't be played by Kurt Russell if 99% of everybody dies first. Ahnald will naturally survive to play the terminator one last time - he said he'd be back after all. What, nobody argued with John Warner living through the global pandemic from Hell? What's with you people?

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845893)

And you Democrat voters want more of this, not less?

According to the polls, Congress and Obama are plummeting in the polls even among their previous supporters. And so the pendulum swings back once again...

Re:"Hey, I know!" (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846137)

Well, they decided to move it during the last administration.

DHS officials and Kansas leaders say the selection system, which began in late 2006, was always fair and open. Brownback has noted that George W. Bush was president in mid-January when his home state of Texas lost the competition.

Also, it's a democrat, Rep. Bart Stupak, that is insisting that there be a hearing on the issue...

just saying...

Hoof & Mouth Disease (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845389)

It's what my wife has, always sticking her foot into her mouth.

Re:Hoof & Mouth Disease (2, Funny)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845455)

maybe better than the alternative location...............

Tornados? (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845397)

H1N1, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

Re:Tornados? (2, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845477)

It's perfect. They'll be isolated because nobody wants to live in the area because tornadoes keep wrecking their homes and farms.

Solves the 'not in my backyard' problem. Well, until a tornado picks up the lab and drops it in somebody's backyard...

Re:Tornados? (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846019)

Solves the 'not in my backyard' problem. Well, until a tornado picks up the lab and drops it in somebody's backyard...

I saw a documentary about that once. Apparently it caused some very strange mutations where the lab landed; there was evidence of quite a number of unusually small people, strange soporific meteorological events, at least one animal with increased intelligence (at the expense of certain other survival attributes) and one person with a markedly green complexion and behavior anomalies, rendered vulnerable by becoming highly water soluble. I think the pathogens were carried in eggs with a human vector.

Re:Tornados? (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846173)

You mean like people don't want to live in Earthquake prone LA, or Hurricane prone Florida, or Wildfire prone California?

Re:Tornados? (1)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845695)

I know I suck for saying it, but this could really blow.

OMFG!!!! (4, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845401)

This is the plot to "Devil Winds".......one the all-time worst disaster films!

http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/306319/Devil-Winds/overview [nytimes.com]
http://www.blockbusteronline.com/movies/devil-winds.html [blockbusteronline.com]

Re:OMFG!!!! (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845555)

[reminisce]I miss the good old disaster flicks of the 1970s. [/reminisce]
*Camperdave starts humming The Morning After [youtube.com]

Re:OMFG!!!! (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845813)

> I miss the good old disaster flicks of the 1970s

Indeed sir, but I look forward to 2012 topping them all. Consider the latest trailer [ew.com] ... looks like good times...

Re:OMFG!!!! (2, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846057)

After the shitfest that was The Day After Tomorrow (same director), I expect 2012 to be equally stupid.

Re:OMFG!!!! (2, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846077)

*Heavy Sigh*

Any time reality starts imitating made for cable movies is a good time to break out the hemlock tea.

Put it in Alaska (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845419)

At the end of the bridge to nowhere.

Re:Put it in Alaska (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845927)

I don't think Russia would like to see a Pathogen lab in their neighbor's yard

Re:Put it in Alaska (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846089)

But then it will be the bridge to death, destruction, and gnashing of teeth.

Color me shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845423)

So lobbying wins out over common sense?

Swine flu researchers report ... (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845431)

"The pigs are flying"

Can't Believe It! (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845435)

Congress is actually going to practice a little due diligence. How nice if they always did this.

Call NBC! I've got next weekend's movie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845437)

F-5 Flu

Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (3, Interesting)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845443)

110 miles from NYC is safe but Kansas is far too dangerous?

This doesn't make any sense.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (1)

dbarron (286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845503)

Since the focus appears to be mostly diseases of livestock...I think the rebuttal is to ask you how many cows live in NYC ?

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (1)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845533)

Isolated on an island.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (3, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845939)

I think the rebuttal is to ask you how many cows live in NYC ?
 
  Apparently there are a lot [nyc.gov]

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (4, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845523)

New Yorkers have shown their ingenuity in fizzling out countless disasters according to the action and disaster movies I've seen. Any problems that happen in Kansas, however, will eat a path of destruction until it reaches the outskirts of New York City, just before the crackpot scientist (who happens to be a close, personal friend of the president) is able to unleash his creatively-devised weapon to stop the problem, and burn it back to its core.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (1)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845535)

Prevailing wind blow east, out to sea, and Plum Island has no bridges. Learn Geography man.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (5, Informative)

ccbailey (859060) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845569)

Disclaimer: I am a veterinarian Currently this sort of research is done on Plum Island (http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=19-40-00-00) which is conveniently separated from everything else by a nice long bridge. Very little of the disease work that goes on there has zoonotic potential, that is potential to infect humans, and those diseases that do would require transmission via arthropod vectors that hopefully don't live in New York. The worry with putting this kind of facility in Kansas is for diseases like foot and mouth disease (FMD), which cause epidemics in livestock but are harmless to people. Foot and mouth can be easily transmitted on objects and through aerosol. Outbreaks in FMD-free countries take months and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up before you can convince anyone to buy your exports again. I think the idea is that there aren't too many cows on Long Island but a hell of a lot more of them in Kansas.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (1)

bmckeever (224043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845869)

There is no bridge to Plum Island.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846125)

I'm not real comfortable with the lack of arthropod vectors in New York part either.

Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845741)

I've lived in the Fort Riley area for 25+ years.

There was a great flood in 1993 but I grew up in an area that was on high land and unaffected.
We had ONE tornado and it was last year.

It wiped out Chapman, KS.
My hometown, Manhattan, KS did get some damage but it was minor in comparison. Three houses were destroyed, and a lot of downed trees caused loss of power. My house suffered broken windows too.

Kansas State University's campus looked like a mess. I walked around in the aftermath and saw lots of broken windows and fallen tree limbs. But none of the buildings on campus had structural damage.

There's a nuclear power plant and a huge 50-foot crane (construction for indoor parking garage) and both survived the passing tornado.

We're a small community and the town could use the facility. I'm biased but everytime the topic comes up, there's stalling by politicians who are trying to move the facility to their hometown.

This arguing has been going on for 3+ years, back & forth. I wish a scientist, not a congress critter would have the final say on the best location.

Easy to prevent pathogen lab from blowing away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845467)

Build it under the longterm nuclear waste storage facility.

here's probably what happened (3, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845505)

some jerkoff senator is scratching some corporate donor's back by bringing the massive contruction contract to his own back yard in BFE, Kansas.

This is the worst kind of politicking. Anyone with any kind of common sense knows that the only facility safe in tornado alley is built underground.

Reminds me of F22 Raptor program (1)

Surrounded (1487683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845621)

It could also have to do more with creating jobs for that area. Either way it's shameless pork.

Let the environment help with containment (4, Interesting)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845515)

Why not put it somewhere isolated that is very cold or very hot, like Alaska or the desert, where the environment would help limit the spread of any escaped pathogens, not give them an ideal breeding ground like Kansas would.

You could use the argument that researchers wouldn't want to live there, but you could say the same thing about Kansas!

Re:Let the environment help with containment (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845677)

Yeah, let's put the lab in Antarctica! It'll be totally safe there! Nobody would get within a thousand miles of the facility. Well, except for the all the cross-country plane trips to bring newly discovered strains from the midwest. But hey, jets are the safest form of travel, right?

Re:Let the environment help with containment (2, Funny)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845709)

Living in Kansas is crazy cheap though. You can buy a legit house with a foundation and everything for 30k.

Re:Let the environment help with containment (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845791)

and if you don't like the location, just wait six months for nature to move your house somewhere else.

Re:Let the environment help with containment (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846133)

It is really cheap to live out this way. We bought a new 1900 ft^2 house on a standard-size lot a couple years ago for $160k. Can't do /that/ on the coasts.

Not as much to do, culturally speaking, and you have to live around Republicans, but overall it's not a bad life.

Re:Let the environment help with containment (2, Insightful)

shipbrick (929823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845819)

You're joking at the end there, but that has at least some degree a truth to it. As a molecular biologist, I have a very negative connotation of Kansas due to their intelligent design/evolution fiasco. And as such, I would never consider moving and raising children there. I'm sure I'm an over-reactor, but I'd bet some other scientists feel the same way too.

Re:Let the environment help with containment (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845993)

Then perhaps the influx of scientists will result in some changes if a few of them care enough to get on the local school boards and/or at least attend the meetings and speak up. That part of this located-in-Kansas debate is the only bit that sounds win-win.

Re:Let the environment help with containment (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845887)

Look at it this way: at least in Kansas, there's no way an escaped pathogen could evolve!

It's not risky --it's actually a security feature (5, Funny)

qdaku (729578) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845537)

Revolutionary. It will be resistant to terrorists attacks because it will obviously be _guarded_ by tornadoes.

What frustrates me isn't to where they are moving (4, Insightful)

Tanman (90298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845563)

It's the fact that they're moving it at all. This stuff is currently secure. It's locked up in a building that is supposed to be able to handle a dropped vial or something. It seems to my admittedly non-biotech-schooled mind that moving the stuff for a week is far more dangerous and has a much higher risk factor than letting it sit in the same place for 50 years.

Remote island on the northern tip of Long Island (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845571)

Is called Plum Island [wikipedia.org] .

Other than living relatively close to it i see no problem with just leaving it there. The only way to get to it is from a secure ferry and in it's 50+ years I haven't heard of one incident.

Re:Remote island on the northern tip of Long Islan (1)

Somegeek (624100) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845675)

... in it's 50+ years I haven't heard of one incident.

Perhaps you should read the Wikipedia article that you linked to.

It references this NY Times article about outbreaks at the facility:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/22/nyregion/plum-island-reports-disease-outbreak.html [nytimes.com]

Re:Remote island on the northern tip of Long Islan (0, Offtopic)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846079)

Re "it's 50+ years I haven't heard of one incident."
The infected workers in many labs like this around the would be dead or on disability and families are patriotic?
Asking for real autopsies and going to the courts, press ect can be very very very unhealthy.

Im not exactly.... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845605)

I'm not exactly sure what the big deal is. Yes, tornados do happen, however -every- place has its risks. Any place located on any cost has the possibility of hurricanes, California has a lot of earthquakes, etc. And honestly the chances of a tornado hitting that exact same place and causing any sort of major damage is slim.

Re:Im not exactly.... (3, Insightful)

jpstanle (1604059) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845685)

I agree. After all, the CDC is headquartered about five miles from downtown Atlanta. Not in the middle of tornado alley, but the area is not impervious to severe weather. And the CDC is home to some really nasty pathogens like smallpox and Ebola. So long as the building is sufficiently hardened, I don't see the problem. We can build containment buildings for nuclear facilities that can withstand direct impacts by commercial jets; surely this proposed facility can be hardened to mitigate the risk presented by weather in the area. Just don't put the pathogen labs in mobile homes, and we should probably be ok.

Re:Im not exactly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845937)

Of course, there is the small problem of transporting stuff in and out, I'm guessing some strong tornadoes could put a dent even on an armoured car.
Also, there ARE places with no natural disasters, just bad weather. My city is one such place, we're on the coast, but well inside a bay so all we get from the sea are storms, there have been two tornadoes or so in the last 30 years, and they were more like dust devils than anything I've seen on TV, no real floods, no mud slides, it snows once every couple of years, in short, it's boring as fuck.

Re:Im not exactly.... (2, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845867)

Any place located on any cost has the possibility of hurricanes,

Correction: any place located on the East Coast is subject to hurricanes because they travel from east to west. Yes, there's other weather issues on the West Coast as well as earthquakes in California and your point is well taken. Just wanted to correct the part about hurricanes.

Re:Im not exactly.... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846037)

Sorry, no. Some places are simply much more disaster-prone than others. The Gulf Coast is prone to hurricanes, as is much of the east coast (much more so towards the south). California has earthquakes. Kansas and Nebraska have frequent tornadoes. Any place on any coast, if you're very close to the coast, is prone to tsunamis.

But there are lots of places that aren't prone to disasters at all. North Dakota, for instance. When was the last time you heard of a disaster there? Or Montana. Here in Arizona, we don't have disasters, just a lot of heat and sunshine.

screw Oz anyway (1)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845651)

Who cares what happens to Oz? They need do something about all those flying monkeys, this might just do the trick. Then it'll finally be safe to vacation there again.

Location choice is proximity-based? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845683)

Perhaps the specimens and anticipated case-load for this lab are expected to come primarily from the surrounding areas. Bringing the lab close to where the incidents of interest are likely to occur offer some advantages. I know that whenever most of use hear of a Bio lab we immediately assume that it is meant for production of pathogens, but numerous such labs are actually diagnostic in nature. For example, many states have a Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (such as this one [tamu.edu] ).

Sure you could probably quarantine and relocate an entire herd to a remote lab in Alaska but it could be better to move them to a facility much closer. But even if it were placed in Alaska people would then become concerned about protecting the wildlife and how the facility would cope with the freeze hazards. No place would be good enough.

Already There: Midwest Research Institute (4, Informative)

Jizzbug (101250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845731)

MRI (Midwest Research Institute) is already in tornado alley at Kansas City, Missouri, just off the UMKC campus. MRI holds the largest archive of communicable pathogens in the world, down the road from the largest public-private science and technology library in the world (Linda Hall, from which library we faxed the University of Tehran [at DHS' approval] almost the entire bibliography of U.S. nuclear research a few years ago just before The Media(TM) started its 'Iran has nuclear tech' scare).

It makes perfect sense that They(TM) would want this new lab to be near the older and larger lab.

btw (1)

Jizzbug (101250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845771)

Most citizens here know that if you see smoke coming from MRI, get out of town FAST.

Boy, they really blew it... (0, Offtopic)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845755)

..hahahahahahahahha...sorry...

doesn't matter where it is (1)

ZirbMonkey (999495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845769)

East Coast = Hurricanes
West Cost = Earthquakes
Midwest = Tornadoes

Here's a thought: regardless of where it's build, the dangerous part will be underground. Last I heard, tornadoes don't burrow.

Re:doesn't matter where it is (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845793)

Everywhere = Nukes

expected from those who changed the national diet (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845785)

What do you expect from a region of the country that has been largely responsible for the tilting of our national diet towards corn? Teaching of religious "alternatives" to evolution? Unconstitutional "homeland" "security"? Preemptive warmaking in the name of "freedom"?

Thanks to the political primaries and low population density, a bunch of ignorant and extremely socially conservative idiots have been driving and heavily influencing our political landscape.

Clearly (3, Funny)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845799)

They should put the lab in an underground complex under Raccoon City, Colorado. What could possibly go wrong?

Resident Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845805)

It's only a matter of time before they start experimenting further...

Excellent!! (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845849)

That's a perfect choice, its not like there are any devistating natural disasters there that involve high speed far reaching winds and could destroy the lab and spread the airborne pathogens contained within at the same time!

Wait... there is something I'm missing here but these damn ruby red slippers keep popping in my head and interrupting my thought process...

Ah well, at least there aren't any actual people in KS.

uh (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845855)

for the money it better be tornado-proof... or at least tornado-resistant.

Ok, isn't it ... (1)

Pool_Noodle (1373373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845889)

too early for April fools day ? I mean seriously ... the DHS couldn't be that stupid to implement yet another half-assed plan like this.

Full of hot air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845979)

As a current resident of the state and city in question I can say that I can think of much worse places to put it. Manhattan, KS has only had one tornado in the past two years that did some very minor damage. Also if the agent that are going to be stored in the facility are as dangerous as stated then won't the building have the proper safety measures included in it construction.

Politicians... :/

Just a Theory (0, Flamebait)

l0perb0y (324046) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846007)

<caricature>
Your idea of predictable, naturally-explainable weather patterns is just a theory. In Kansas, we teach that tornadoes are caused by an intelligent designer. This designer would never send His tornadoes to spread disease amongst His people without a good reason. It is our faith in Him that allows us to relocate this dangerous facility without fear. In fact, it is better to get this building as far away from the godless sodomites in NYC as possible. His will be done, amen.
</caricature>

Re:Just a Theory (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846093)

I've got a theory - it must be Bunnies! They've got those hoppy feet and twitchy little noses.

YUO FAIL IT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846017)

was 1n the tea I example, 1f you impaired its hear you. Also, if

Upwind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846095)

Glad I am west of the divide, so long suckers!

As someone from "Tornado Alley" (3, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846103)

we don't get hit with tornadoes all that often. They do happen, and small towns do get properly torn-up by them, but one of those only hits every few years. Most of our tornadoes touch down in uninhabited areas, because there's a /lot/ of space that's farm fields, pastures, or forested. Also, I'd much rather be here than where hurricanes or earthquakes or forest fires are apt to hit, because tornadoes by their nature affect only a small area.

Taco, would you get around to firing kdawson already? His sensationalism was amusing during the election cycle, but it's getting really tiresome.

More Life Imitates Art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846153)

In Tom Clancy's book Rainbow Six, 1998. The Horizon corporation has one of it's facilities in central Kansas. It' goal was to engineer a virus to kill everyone but it's members, so they could save the earth's environment from people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Six_%28novel%29

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