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Public Hearing Set to Discuss Proposed Biodefense Lab

If North Carolina is picked as the site for a national laboratory, Butner could become ground zero for research to fight bioterrorism threats.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A public hearing is set for Tuesday to discuss a national biodefense lab that could go up in Butner.

The national Bio and Agro-Defense facility would sit on the Umstead Research Farm. Scientists could study deadly diseases like ebola, avian flu and anthrax in Butner. Some believe the community's proximity to top universities, RDU International Airport and Research Triangle Park make it the perfect area for a high-level research lab.

Officials said the lab would require the highest level of security, but since Butner is already home to 16 state and federal institutions, proponents said they believe securing the lab will not be an issue.

The facility is expected to bring 1,500 construction jobs and 500 permanent positions. In addition to the jobs, the facility could generate $6 billion over the next 20 years.

The public hearing on the lab is scheduled for 6 p.m. at South Granville High in Creedmoor. Texas, Kansas, Mississippi and Georgia are also in the running to get the lab. The government is not expected to pick a site until 2008.


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