Local News

Butner pulls support for bio-lab

Posted August 8, 2008
Updated August 12, 2008

— The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to withdraw its support for a proposed federal research lab, which has become the target of growing opposition from residents and neighboring communities.

Butner is one of five finalist locations that the Department of Homeland Security is considering for a National Bio- and Agro-Defense facility, which would study animal diseases and diseases spread from animals to humans.

Supporters say the lab would bring about 1,500 short-term construction jobs and would eventually employ up to 500 people and could generate $6 billion in the local economy over the next two decades.

Local residents have rallied in opposition to the proposed lab, fearing germs for diseases like avian flu could be released in the community or a possible terrorist attack.

Granville County officials also withdrew their support for the lab earlier this year, and the Raleigh City Council expressed formal opposition to the lab this week, saying they wanted to protect the headwaters of Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, from possible contamination.

Butner officials initially supported the lab, then adopted a neutral position while awaiting a federal environmental impact statement.Butner Councilman Elbert Oakley said he and his colleagues "wanted to know the truth about the lab" but said they feel "the federal government has not given us enough information."

A Homeland Security spokesman said department officials would take the lack of local support for the lab into consideration in deciding whether to locate it in Butner. A final decision is expected this fall.


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  • OLD PIRATE 2 Aug 8, 2008

    I have 500 ac. in Northampton growing weeds (real ones)..!

  • TrueBlu Aug 8, 2008

    oldschooltarheel....though i like your choice of schools i do not like your comment. its not like us "butnerians" all had a choice of where we wanted to live. Many people in this area live here because our fathers fathers either farmed for a living or relocated due to the federal institutions in the area. We knew the history of the land...If you have ever been to the area you can still see the history in some places. But when it comes down to it... my father had to find a way to support his family and he was willing to do whatever it took... No matter where we had to move. Hopefully every other father in the world would do the same. So before we start mouthing off these ignorant comments about people and the places that they live... lets think about the fact that some people dont have a choice where they are relocated. Oh and Go Heels!!!!

  • Mohawkk Aug 8, 2008

    You gotta know, them ain't fricking geniuses working in those gov't labs. All the geniuses work for industry where they get paid for what they know, not who they know.

  • gvmntcheese Aug 8, 2008

    SlipKid, do your homework, CDC Georgia, about 10 years ago...

  • Mohawkk Aug 8, 2008

    I for one would not want that bio-lab in my back yard or any place close enough to effect me or my family. Plum Island, New York is a good place for it to stay. If you have ever read the book (fiction) Plum Island you will get a feel for what goes on there. We don't need it in North Carolina or any surrounding state where it may contaminate the environment we live in.

  • oldschooltarheel Aug 8, 2008

    Butnerians would be better served to poke around in their charming cul-de-sac yards on the lookout for unexploded WWII ordinances & other waste out there - these pose a real & present danger to the ones dumb enough to have bought the "country charm" houses sitting on top of that stuff without wandering into the courthouse to view the history of that land.

  • Slip Kid Aug 8, 2008

    There have been no failures/exposures with these types of labs in the U.S. ever (50+ years). The new labs will have much better controlled environments and policies and procedures have improved as well. It's unfortunate that ignorance and fear motivate the community more than knowledge and understanding. Maybe we should let SE Asia do this research then see if we can handle a real outbreak (courtesey of mother nature) *IF* it hits here? This is a short sighted bunch, too bad.

  • davidgnews Aug 8, 2008

    dogman - uninformed as usual. You probably don't live anywhere near the proposed site, either.

  • m123 Aug 8, 2008

    yes, i know that i misspelled facilities; i'm sure someone is going to point that out to me. :)

  • m123 Aug 8, 2008

    Actually the local people did not have any say in the Federal Prison or hospital compound either. There was opposition to those facitlies as well. The people in Butner will regularly speak about the serious criminals that are housed there and how they hate to have them there. By the way, I am not northern-born, and I don't commute to RTP.