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Chancellor named to task force to help bring federal lab to Kansas

Kansas has the potential to be a world leader in bioscience research thanks to its existing assets, said Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, and those assets that will be a key part of the state's bid for a planned federal laboratory.

Sebelius recently issued an executive order forming the Kansas National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility Task Force, which will lead the effort to bring the planned research laboratory to Kansas. Chancellor Robert Hemenway is among the leaders of academe, industry and the private sector on the task force.

"We already have outstanding assets, ranging from private sector firms like Hill's and Bayer, to government institutions like the new food security facility at K-State. Kansas has a strong case to make for bringing the planned federal lab to our state," Sebelius said.

Two sites in Kansas are currently under consideration for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's planned $451 million, 500,000-square-foot laboratory.  

"This facility is needed to fill a critical gap in the nation's bio- and agro-research plan. Securing this new federal laboratory would allow us to continue to act as a pioneer in scientific discovery on the world stage, while also producing major economic benefits here at home in the form of job creation and investment," U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said.

The federal defense lab is projected to have an economic impact of $3.5 billion over the next 20 years. Construction of the facility alone is projected to employ 1,000 workers.

"NBAF would not only bring $450 million and hundreds of jobs into Kansas, it would be another strong signal that our state is a national and international leader in cutting-edge bioscience research. The public-private partnership we are launching today is a crucial step to winning the facility," Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson said.

"Not only will NBAF be responsible for the creation of hundreds of new construction jobs, as well as hundreds of new high-wage, high-skill research positions, but it will put Kansas at the forefront of bioscience discovery," said Dan Glickman, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and currently president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association.  

Roberts, Parkinson and Glickman will chair the task force, which will coordinate community outreach and advocacy and serve as a focal point for public input on their proposals.  It will also assist in the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the proposed sites.

The task force will be composed of members appointed by the Governor.  She will also designate a chair, vice chair and honorary chairs.

The president of the Kansas Senate and speaker of the Kansas House will appoint one member each, as will the minority leaders of each chamber.

Members of Kansas' congressional delegation or their designees will serve as ex-officio members of the task force.

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February 5, 2007 : Vol. 31, No. 10

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