GARDEN CITY, N.Y. —An environmental impact study required before the federal government can sell a tiny island housing the nation's only animal disease laboratory and move the lab to Kansas will not be ready until next spring, an official said Tuesday.
It was the second time the report has been delayed.
The General Services Administration is required to complete the report on Plum Island as part of its plan to close the animal disease lab built there in the 1950s.
Officials want to sell the island located 100 miles east of New York City near the eastern tip of Long Island and move operations to Manhattan, Kan., by 2018.
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However, a National Research Council report issued last month cited safety concerns with the Kansas location, including the risk that animal pathogens could be released close to urban populations and a large cattle supply.
Kansas officials insisted that the project would proceed.
"This research mission is too important for politics, and we know there is strong, bipartisan support for it," Tom Thornton, president and CEO of the Kansas Biosciences Authority, said last month of the proposed National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility.