Department of Homeland Security - National Bio Agro Defense Facility
DHS recently released another series of documents pertaining to the NBAF
Please note: These materials are redacted.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement used excerpts and summaries from the following support documents, which are expected to assist the decision maker in a final decision:
- Biodefense Knowledge Center Rapid Response, May 22, 2008 (PDF, 11 pages ,1.71 MB)
- Biodefense Knowledge Center Rapid Response, May 29, 2008 (PDF, 13 pages , 1.54 MB)
- Site Cost Analysis (PDF, 118 pages - 33 MB)
- Site Characterization Study (PDF, 180 pages - 8.56 MB)
- Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) Closure and Transition Cost Study (PDF, 40 pages - 1.36 MB)
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
These files are very large and may take some time to download.
- Abstract/Executive Summary (PDF, 18 pages - 1.4 MB)
- Table of Contents, Acronyms (PDF, 37 pages - 207 KB)
- Chapter 1 (PDF, 13 pages - 835 KB)
- Chapter 2 (PDF, 50 pages - 4.73 MB)
- Chapter 3 - 3.1 to 3.5 (PDF, 95 pages - 5.62 MB)
- Chapter 3 - 3.6 to 3.8 (PDF, 125 pages - 6.39 MB)
- Chapter 3 - 3.9 to 3.13 (PDF, 141 pages - 5.16MB)
- Chapter 3 - 3.14 (PDF, 140 pages - 16.55 MB)
- Chapter 3 - 3.15 to 3.18 (PDF, 10 pages - 656 KB)
- Chapters 4-8 (PDF, 68 pages - 571 KB)
- Appendices A and B (PDF, 25 pages - 2.09 MB)
- Appendices C and D (PDF, 103 pages - 3.85 MB)
- Appendices E and F (PDF, 173 pages - 11.95 MB)
Download entire 1005 page Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Here.
On DHS’s website the following notice is posted after the links to the study;
“The DEIS (National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility - Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is not fully accessible. The Section 508 compliant version of this document will be posted on or by July 8, 2008. If you need assistance accessing the DEIS prior to July 8th, please call 1-866-501-NBAF (6223) for assistance.”
Comment period for the NBAF DEIS ends August 25th 2008.
Official Feasibility Study for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF)
Thanks to Russ Kick and the Memory Hole for making this document available.Through the Freedom of Information Act, The Memory Hole obtained the official feasibility study for the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) from the Department of Homeland Security. Download [PDF/ 18 meg / 366 pages]
NBAF - ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT - SCOPING REPORT - FINAL
Report February 2008 U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Entire Report is 124 pages (PDF)
GAO Report - May 22, 2008: HIGH-CONTAINMENT BIOSAFETY LABORATORIES
DHS Lacks Evidence to Conclude That Foot-and-Mouth Disease Research Can Be Done Safely on the U.S. Mainland
What GAO Found:
GAO found that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)has neither conducted nor commissioned any study to determine whether work on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) can be done safely on the U.S. mainland. Instead, in deciding that work with FMD can be done safely on the mainland, DHS relied on a 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study that addressed a different question. The study did not assess the past history of releases of FMD virus or other dangerous pathogens in the United States or elsewhere. It did not address in detail the issues of containment related to large animal work in BSL-3 Ag facilities. It was inaccurate in comparing other countries’ FMD work experience with that of the United States. Therefore, GAO believes DHS does not have evidence to conclude that FMD work can be done safely on the U.S. mainland. More
Download entire 33 page report here.(PDF)
VVH-TV News Special Report on PLUM ISLAND YouTube Video
VVH-TV News Chief Investigative Reporter Karl Grossman interviews author Long Island native and lawyer Michael Christopher Carroll about his work "Lab 257". This work takes us on a shocking journey inside the notorious Plum Island biological research facility. Carroll spent five years researching this highly detailed and powerful account of the secretive government installation that sits just off the coast of some of New York's prime real estate, an installation that has had its share of meltdowns, mishaps and downright scary security breaches, including two known releases of deadly viruses into the air. More
Council for Responsible Genetics
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: BIODEFENSE RESEARCH
Q: Is there a list of major accidents in biodefense labs?
Council for Responsible Genetics has documented the following cases:
• In December 2002, a three-hour total power failure undermined the containment systems at an infectious disease laboratory at Plum Island,NewYork. Workers had to resort to sealing the doors with duct tape, as the air compressors failed.
• Government scientists in 2002 revealed that over two dozen dangerous biological agents including anthrax and Ebola went unaccounted for in the early 1990s at the US Army Medical Research Unit (USAMRIID) in Ft.Detrick, Maryland.The location of these agents, which were subject to removal without authorization, remains a mystery. See related article: “Laxity at lab where Mr. X Worked”
• On March 20th, 2003, a package containing the West Nile virus exploded in a Federal Express building in Columbus, Ohio, exposing workers to the possible infection and causing offices to be evacuated.
• FBI investigations and a recent genetic analysis published in Science suggest that dry anthrax spores originally derived from USAMRIID were used in the September 2001 mail attacks that resulted in five deaths and several billion dollars in damage to the US economy.
• In April 2002, a researcher at USAMRIID tested positive for exposure to anthrax spores, which were also released in small quantities into an adjacent hallway and office.
• In March 2000, a microbiologist working with infectious diseases in a Biosafety Level 3 facility at USAMRIID contracted glanders due to accidental exposure. Between 1987 and 1990,two other workers acquired infectious diseases at the same facility.
• In 1998,a research assistant at the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta, part of the National Institute of Health's Primate Research Program , died six weeks after being exposed to simian herpes virus in the laboratory.
• In June 2003, the U.S. Army unearthed 113 bacteria-containing vials, including live strains of brucellosis and non-virulent anthrax, during an excavation of its Fort Detrick site to eliminate toxic chemicals and hazardous waste. More
Council for Responsible Genetics
Mistakes Happen: Accidents and Security Breaches at Biocontainment Laboratories (PDF)
Every day, thousands of laboratories in the United States handle potentially dangerous viruses, bacteria, and other microbes. Guidelines for required equipment, handling practices, facility layout, and other procedures are used to ensure the safety of researchers and the public health. At all biosafety levels, however—from the minimal containment of
the common wet lab to the airtight boxes, full-body suits and supply and exhaust vacuums of high-security facilities—accidents are inevitable.
The Council for Responsible Genetics has conducted an ongoing survey of accidents and security breakdowns at high-security biological research facilities that have occurred over the last decade. The results of this survey included examples of each the following incidents:
loss of (or inability to account for) significant quantities of bioterrorism agents stored in biocontainment laboratories;
infection of laboratory personnel with a dangerous pathogen, resulting in serious illness or death;
failure of key safeguards and containment measures following a security inspection or power failure;
use of bioterrorism agents removed from a biocontainment facility for the purposes of causing indiscriminate harm to civilians. More
GAO Report - Oct. 4, 2007: High-Containment Biosafety Laboratories (PDF)
Preliminary Observations on the Oversight of the Proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 Laboratories in the United States
What GAO Found
In response to the global spread of emerging infectious diseases and the threat of bioterrorism, high-containment biosafety laboratories (BSL)--specifically biosafety level (BSL)-3 and
BSL-4--have been proliferating in the United States. These labs—classified by the type of agents used and the risk posed to personnel, the environment, and the community—often contain the most dangerous infectious disease agents, such as Ebola, smallpox, and avian influenza. This testimony addresses (1) the extent to which there has been a proliferation of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs, (2) federal agencies’ responsibility for tracking this proliferation and determining the associated risks, and (3) the lessons that can be learned from recent incidents at three high-containment biosafety labs. To address these objectives, GAO asked 12 federal agencies involved with high-containment labs about their missions and whether they tracked the number of labs overall.
GAO also reviewed documents from these agencies, such as pertinent legislation, regulation, and guidance. Finally, GAO interviewed academic experts in microbiological research.
A major proliferation of high-containment BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs is taking place in the United States, according to the literature, federal agency officials, and experts. The expansion is taking place across many sectors—federal, academic, state, and private—and all over the United States. Concerning BSL-4 labs, which handle the most dangerous agents, the number of these labs has increased from 5—before the terrorist attacks of 2001—to 15, including at least 1 in planning stage. Information on expansion is available about high-containment labs that are registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Select Agent Program, and that are federally funded. However, much less is known about the expansion of labs outside the Select Agent Program, as well as the nonfederally funded labs, including location, activities, and ownership.
GAO Report - December 2005: PLUM ISLAND ANIMAL DISEASE CENTER (PDF)
DHS and USDA Are Successfully Coordinating Current Work, but Long-Term Plans Are Being Assessed Since the transfer, budget changes, in part, have modified overall priorities and the scope of work at the island. First, ARS narrowed its research priorities to focus its work primarily on a single foreign animal disease, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Traditionally one of the high-priority diseases studied at Plum Island, FMD has emerged as its top research priority because, according to officials, it poses the greatest threat of introduction because of its virulence, infectivity, and availability. Other research programs have been terminated or are proceeding at a slower pace. National experts we consulted confirmed the importance of studying FMD, but stated that it is also important to study a variety of other diseases to remain prepared. More
GAO: PIADC Recommendation Summary - December 2007
DHS: Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center Audit Report (PDF)
A note concerning transparency: The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, has redacted this report for public release. A review under the Freedom of Information Act will be conducted upon request.
This report summarizes our assessment of the adequacy and effectiveness of the physical and system security controls implemented at Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). It includes an evaluation of PIADC’s compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements, including the physical security findings previously reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in September 2003. It is based on interviews with employees and officials of relevant federal and local agencies, direct observations and analyses, and a review of applicable documents. More
GAO Report - Feb. 2008 Homeland Security (PDF)
Preliminary Observations on the Federal Protective Service’s Efforts to Protect Federal Property
What GAO Found
Due to staffing and operational issues, FPS is experiencing difficulties in fully meeting its facility protection mission. According to many FPS officials at regions we visited, these difficulties may expose federal facilities to a greater risk of crime or terrorist attack. FPS’ workforce has decreased by nearly 20 percent from almost 1,400 in fiscal year 2004 to about 1,100 at the end of fiscal year 2007. In fiscal year 2007, FPS had about 756 inspectors and police officers, and about 15,000 contract guards who are used primarily to monitor facilities through fixed post assignments and access control. FPS is also implementing a policy to change the composition of its workforce whereby it will essentially eliminate the police officer position and mainly utilize inspectors. One consequence of this change is that, with the exception of a few locations, FPS is not providing proactive patrols in and around federal facilities in order to detect and prevent criminal incidents and terrorism related activities before they occur. More
GAO Report - June 2008 Homeland Security (PDF)
The Federal Protective Service Faces Several Challenges That Hamper Its Ability to Protect Federal Facilities
What GAO Found
FPS faces several operational challenges that hamper its ability to accomplish its mission, and the actions it has taken may not fully resolve these challenges. FPS’s staff decreased by about 20 percent between fiscal years 2004 and 2007. FPS has managed the decreases in its staffing resources in a manner that has diminished security at GSA facilities and increased the risk of crime or terrorist attacks at many GSA facilities. For example, with the exception of a few locations, FPS no longer provides proactive patrols at GSA facilities to detect and prevent criminal incidents and terrorism-related activities. FPS also continues to face problems with managing its contract guard program and ensuring that security countermeasures, such as security cameras and magnetometers, are operational. For example, according to FPS, it has investigated significant crimes at multiple high-risk facilities, but the security cameras installed in those buildings were not working properly, preventing FPS investigators from identifying the suspects. More
The National Bio Agro Defense Facility’s “Dual Use” Research (PDF) (DOC)
Weapons Labs Biological Research Raises Concerns - Arms Control Today
Two U.S. nuclear weapons labs are opening biological research labs capable of studying more dangerous pathogens, raising concerns about the U.S. ability to meet demands for transparency in line with the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).
On Jan. 25, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory began operating a new Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) research lab. In addition, Los Alamos National Laboratory is scheduled to complete a federally mandated environmental study on a similar lab in August 2008, enabling the lab to begin operations soon thereafter, if the study findings are favorable.
Biosafety level classifications are established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to denote the level of danger associated with handling particular biological pathogens and proper procedures for working with them. The most dangerous agents, such as Ebola, are classified as BSL-4 in part because there is no known cure. A rating of BSL-3 indicates that the lab is equipped to handle infectious agents that may cause serious or fatal illness if inhaled. Agents rated at BSL-2 are not transmissible via inhalation and are often less hazardous in terms of the infections they may cause. For example, anthrax is normally a BSL-2 pathogen but necessitates a BSL-3 environment if it is in pure cultures or is aerosolized because it is then an inhalation threat. More
Accidental Disease Releases, Exposures and Security Breaches at Biosafety Level-3 and Biosafety Level-4 Laboratories
There are four possible levels of safety measures at a biological research lab handling biohazards, ranging from BSL-1 at the lowest security to BSL-4, requiring the most rigorous protection. BSL-4 labs are required for the study of certain diseases which are highly infectious, transmissible to humans and for which there are no vaccines or treatments. Another biosafety level, BSL-3Ag, with almost all of the BSL-4 features, is for researching highly infectious animal diseases. There are only a handful of BSL-4 and BSL-3Ag labs in the country. More
North Carolina Consortium For the National Bio Agro Defense Facility - Expression of Interest
Letters of Support from Granville and Durham Counties