Kansas officials lobby Congress to fund biosecurity lab

TOPEKA | Kansas legislative leaders spent time this week knocking on doors in Washington to urge Congress to fund construction of new biosecurity facility in the state.

Republican and Democratic leaders made the pitch for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, which the Department of Homeland Security plans to build near Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The Kansas lab would replace an aging facility on Plum Island, N.Y. It would conduct secure research on a variety of deadly plant and animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease.

The Kansas legislative leaders urged Congress to follow President Barack Obama's recommendation to spend $150 million in the next federal fiscal year for construction. The lab is scheduled to be functioning by 2018 at a total cost of $650 million.