Local News

Durham County commissioners vote against bio-lab

Posted August 12, 2008 12:09 a.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2008 12:06 p.m. EDT

— The Durham County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday evening against a proposal to site a federal research lab in Butner. The proposal has become the target of growing opposition from Butner 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 that 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 the lab could be the target of a terrorist attack.

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