The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed siting of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security biohazard lab in North Carolina is receiving public hearings today and tonight in Granville County. In conjunction, public comments may also be presented in writing by Monday, Aug. 25.
The proposed biohazard lab would be located in Granville County, one of five sites around the country that are under consideration. It would be a replacement for the Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center, an aging lab located off the tip of Long Island, N.Y. According to the Department of Homeland Security Web site, the facility would be a joint activity with the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, addressing biological and agricultural security risks and the development of vaccine countermeasures. The Independent Weekly of Durham recently published a news story regarding support and opposition for the proposal (“Biotech or Biohazard?”). And a public commentary about the lab appeared in the Mountain Xpress on June 18.
Tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting takes place at the Butner-Stem Middle School, 501 East D Street, Butner, in the gymnasium. Written comments must be received no later than Aug. 25, and should be addressed to the U.S. Department Homeland Security; Science and Technology Directorate; James V. Johnson; Mail Stop #2100; 245 Murray Lane, SW; Building 410; Washington, DC 20528A.
Fax (toll free): 1-866-508-NBAF (6223).
— Nelda Holder, associate editor