The new Plum Island, as chronicled in the Current a couple weeks back, would involve research on some of the most transmissible and deadly diseases on the planet. Of course, the thought of billions in economic jelly tends to color these sorts of debates, as some of you may have noticed.
Now we find out that Plum itself, not considered an option when the siting process got underway, may is in the race, after all! Only that damn Senator “from” New York won’t quit saying it’s too dangerous to dump near a “population center.” Safety concerns haven’t stopped Cornyn or Ciro from pumping it. I’m sure they have their reasons.
Plum Island plan focus of Homeland Security talks
BY BILL BLEYER | firstname.lastname@example.org
August 22, 2007
Even though Plum Island is not on the list of five sites being considered for a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, the Department of Homeland Security is scheduled to hold a public meeting tomorrow night in Southold to solicit comments on whether the island would be a good site for the lab. Plum Island, located off Orient Point and home of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center scheduled to be superseded by the new facility after 2013, hasn't been considered for the new lab that will study more dangerous pathogens. That's due in part to opposition from the state's two U.S. senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton). They say the idea is too dangerous. But Department of Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie said the agency's environmental review process requires consideration of the now-operational site as a fallback if the other locations are deemed unusable. Plum Island could not serve as the site for the new facility while remaining at its current level of operation, Bio-Safety Level 3, the second highest level, which is what the area's elected officials want. "That can't happen because Plum Island as it is today doesn't meet the needs," Orluskie said. "It could be a location to build a new facility." In a statement yesterday, Clinton and Bishop said, "We continue to stand firmly opposed to placing a Bio-Safety Level 4 facility on Plum Island due to its close proximity to major metropolitan areas." BSL four is the most dangerous level.
--- DON’T FORGET THE PUBLIC HEARING ON N-BAF IS BEING HELD HERE IN TOWN AT 7 p.m., September 11, and will be held at the Marriott Plaza, 555 S. Alamo Street, San Antonio. MAKE PLANS NOW, SEATING IS LIMITED, AND ALL THAT B.S.--