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Congressmen Seek Information on Bioterror Lab

Posted January 14, 2008

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— Congressman Brad Miller and G.K. Butterfield have requested the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to respond to the concerns of Butner residents over a proposed bioterrorism lab.

Butner is one of five sites that has been under consideration for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense facility, which would study animal diseases or diseases spread from animals to humans, such as bird flu or foot-and-mouth disease. Part of the Umstead Research Farm would be used for $450 million lab, which officials said would create 350 to 450 jobs and generate a $1.65 billion impact on the local economy.

The Granville County Board of Commissioners last week withdrew its support for the lab, citing widespread opposition among the community and the lack of contact with Homeland Security to allay residents' concerns. County officials said they were referred to a Web site when they asked for a contact person at Homeland Security.

Miller and Butterfield, Democrats representing the 13th and 1st districts, respectively, sent a letter Friday to the department's national laboratories director, asking him to have officials visit Granville County or talk with county officials on the phone to answer local questions about the lab.

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