Speaking of reasonable routes, how about tracing possible pathways for foot-and-mouth disease to reach American beef cattle? From an island off Long Island: Eight Ball says tricky. From a South Texas research lab: less so. At least that’s what some livestock associations decided before taking up their cattle prods to protest the proposed move of Homeland Security’s (do they run everything now, or just the doomsday stuff?) proposed $450-million National Bio- & Agro-Defense germ lab off of the now-infamous Plum Island.
Last Friday, Der Homeland released their Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Queque is merrily marching through the 1,005-page tome, but found a few nuggets worth passing along.
? No preferred alternative is announced. All five locations (Georgia, Kansas, Misissippi, Missouri, and SA’s Texas Research Park) are still in play;
? Homeland could start building in 2010 and finish in four years;
? The facility would use 52-million gallons of water annually if it comes to Texas and would require 12.8 megawatts of power (roughly equal to 7,000 homes cooking, air-conditioning, and computing for a year);
? And if foot-and-mouth disease should slip out it could cost Texas $4.1-billion in lost business and dead livestock.
Speaking in support of a new N-BAF facility, though not advocating for a location, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Gary Voogt put the full outbreak figure at $10-$34 billion. That is good enough reason for the folks at National Grange, the nation’s oldest farming association, to oppose moving the lab to the mainland.
But, oh, that darned anticipated billions in economic-development potential (and word is the whole operation may be — say Republican three times fast — privatized). Feel better?We forgot to mention a few things, though.
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