Local News

Raleigh opposes Butner bio-lab

Posted August 5, 2008 3:42 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2008 7:58 a.m. EDT

— The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a resolution formally opposing locating a federal research lab in Granville County.

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.

The Raleigh City Council asked Homeland Security officials six months ago to answer questions they had about protecting the headwaters of Falls Lake, the city's primary reservoir, from any contamination from the lab.

City Manager Russell Allen said the federal officials haven't adequately answered the city's questions, so he recommended the council formally oppose the project.