Location: Body Fitness Center - 106 West C St., Butner, NC 27509
Granville Non-Violent Action Team (GNAT) and Clean Water for North Carolinawill host a showing of the Sundance Special Award-Winning documentary “GASLAND”, showing impacts of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to extract natural gas in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states, including drinking water, community quality of life and landscapes. New methods allow energy companies to drill deeper and horizontally into deep natural gas formations, such as NC’s coal bed methane band that stretches from southern Granville County down to Anson County. Come learn more about “fracking” and what you can do to protect our region and community! Free and open to the public, light refreshments.
Germs Gone Wild takes you on a grassroots journey through the site selection process of the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF). Kenneth King, experienced first hand how greed and the promise of federal dollars can change a community after local government and business leaders tried (unsuccessfully) to lure the NBAF to his hometown in Kentucky. Buy It!
Germs Gone Wild gives you insight into GNAT’s grassroots effort to stop the facility by unveiling the NC-NBAF Consortium’s well funded propaganda campaign.
Here are a few excerpts about our fight:
“ DHS held all the DEIS hearings in the space of about two weeks. The logistics of traveling to all of them—at my own expense—in such a short time seemed daunting. So I chose the two locations where newspaper coverage indicated there was strong opposition: Butner, North Carolina and Athens, Georgia. But even I, by now an experienced NBAF opponent, never expected what I found in Butner.”
“Just before the hearing, things seemed ripe for a confrontation. In a bit of street theater, NBAF was given its last rites and hauled away in a hearse. A small brown goat, with a sign Skip Says No to NBAF around his collar, watched closely. DHS had its information tables; GNAT had its. The T-shirts: Whatever It Takes! A slogan left over the hazardous waste fight, and the GNATs meant it. Many had gone to jail during that battle. Many were prepared to go to jail during this one.”
“Suzanne Smith: I drove all the way to Washington. I told you last meeting, I’ve been trying to tell you: Bless your hearts, you don’t have community support. But one thing I have learned is that you value redundancy.You do not have community support. Is that not redundant enough? I would like to take this opportunity to tell my community, how absolutely proud and thrilled I am to be part of this community. We do understand that people in Washington have good intentions—the same type that paved the road to hell.”
“The locals had some fun with DHS’s confused answers about “deer eradication should a whiff of foot and mouth” get out. DHS suggested that it might put the deer “under surveillance” (nightscopes and wiretaps?) to see if they were commingling with and transmitting FMD to cattle. “Are you aware,” one questioner asked scornfully, “that in this area deer jump in and out of pastures constantly and travel quite a way? A lot of people are trying to eradicate them on their own.” (Laughter.) “Well, in this situation,” the DHS mouthpiece mumbled, “we’d probably just let them go. In a worst case scenario, we’d fence in all the livestock, resort to hunting.” “Good luck,” said the questioner, to more laughter. (More) Don’t Miss what the “Editor of GeneWatch, Sam Anderson calls “the most important GeneWatch issue in recent memory”.
“This may be one of the most important GeneWatch issues in recent memory. In its early days, the Council for Responsible Genetics put a great deal of effort into laboratory safety questions as Harvard University prepared to set up a recombinant DNA lab.
Today, biolab safety is still an important issue for those who live near a current or planned high security laboratory, such as Boston University's plan to study highly pathogenic diseases in a Biosafety Level 4 lab nestled in the densely populated neighborhood of Roxbury. In this issue, we also focus on those directly in the line of fire: lab workers. GeneWatch Vol. 23 includes 13 articles regarding “BioLab Safety”
Former Pfizer Molecular biologist Becky McClain wins 1.37 Million Award
A former Pfizer scientist who claims that she has been paralyzed by inadvertent exposure to a virus engineered at the pharmaceutical company's laboratories in Groton was awarded $1.37 million Thursday by a federal jury in Hartford following a trial that raised questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.
The jury also gave molecular biologist Becky McClain of Deep River yet-to-be-determined punitive damages to cover the costs of litigation and fees to her two Connecticut lawyers, Bruce E. Newman and Stephen J. Fitzgerald.
In her lawsuit, she said that in 2002 or 2003 she was exposed through work by a former Pfizer colleague to a genetically engineered form of the lentivirus, a virus similar to the one that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Medical experts working for McClain said they believe that the virus has affected the way her body processes potassium and that it has created a condition that causes paralysis as many as 12 times a month. MoreThe National Academy of Sciences USAMRIID safety study to be released
After a two year wait since the Frederick Citizens for Bio-lab Safety began their petition against the proposed high-containment laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md. They may finally get the answers they have demanded.
A new report from the National Research Council that reviews the health and safety risk analyses for the proposed high-containment laboratory at Fort Detrick, Md., will be released at a one-hour public briefing on March 4. Members of the committee that wrote the report will present their findings and recommendations and answer audience questions. The report reviews an environmental impact statement prepared by the US Army for its planned expansion of the biocontainment facilities, as well as the procedures and regulations in place to prevent unsafe exposures at the current biosafety laboratories on the campus and whether they meet accepted safety standards.
Strengthening Security and Oversight at Biological Research Laboratories
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security held a scheduled hearing on "Strengthening Security and Oversight at Biological Research Laboratories" Tuesday, September 22, 2009.
The ’Hearing examined the GAOs latest findings regarding national strategy for high-containment laboratories that deal with dangerous--pathogens also known as biosafety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratories and biosafety level-4 (BSL-4) laboratories--in the United States.
The federal government doesn't do enough to ensure the safety and efficiency of so-called high-containment laboratories where scientists work with dangerous pathogens, according to a report released this week by the federal Government Accountability Office.
At least 18 of the country's more than 1,300 high-containment labs are in Athens, on the University of Georgia campus and in U.S. Department of Agriculture buildings on East Campus Road.
The GAO report calls for the federal government to create an agency that would determine exactly how many labs the country has and how many it needs. The new agency also should set standards for the design and operation of high-containment labs, according to the report.
The report was the first of three to be released this week as Congress opens up hearings about the labs.
The new GAO report vindicates NBAF critics, said Kathy Prescott of Athens FAQ, a group that opposed NBAF in Athens.
"It just seems to confirm what we were trying to say all along - there's no government entity to show this lab could be built and run safely. There's no government entity that oversees these labs," Prescott said.More
25 Ag Groups Asks Congress to Deny Funding for NBAF
R-CALF USA, along with 24 other organizations, sent formal correspondence to the 30 conferees of the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, to request that they deny funding for plans to relocate dangerous research from Plum Island, N.Y., to a facility in Manhattan, Kan., the heart of cattle country.More
About fifty people filled the seats of Manhattan’s Public Library to screen Eric Nadler and Robert Coen’s film, “Anthrax-War.” Sponsored by the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice, NO NBAF and private citizens, the film was specifically chosen because of Manhattan’s possibility of housing a new NBAF facility.
“I think there will inevitably be a breakdown in the containment system because we are all prone to human error,” said Christopher Renner, who coordinated the film’s screening. “And so at some point, the students are going to be exposed to some things. Even though the kids are only going to school at this place for four years, they might, 20 years later, be suffering consequences from an exposure to something here. So that is why they need to be really attentive to what is being put in their backyard.” More
Biolab debate rages again in Washington – Were N.C. opponents right after all? | Source: Local Tech Wire
So were the opponents who helped derail North Carolina’s chances of landing a $500 million bioresearch lab right after all?
Read this sentence from a Government Accounting Office report on the Department of Homeland Security’s site selection process that ended up picking Kansas rather than a site near Butner and four other locations:
“Given the significant limitations in DHS’s analyses that we found, the conclusion that FMD work can be done as safely on the mainland as on Plum Island is not supported.”More
“Maybe Kansas’ gain wasn’t a loss for N.C. after all.”
Granville Anti-NBAF Group Reminds Federal and State Agencies of “Promise” to Stop Bio-Hazard Lab
In the final days before the Dept. of Homeland Security announces its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) with evaluation of potential sites for its proposed massive biohazard lab (NBAF), the Granville Non-Violent Action Team is sending a message to federal and state officials that there’s no question the fight will only intensify if a site at Butner is fingered as likely. At the July public hearing on the Draft EIS, Bill McKellar, a GNAT leader and Butner pharmacist made clear his group’s “promise to fight” with a strong legal action to a siting in Butner. More
NC Department of Commerce Missed $200 Million in Costs to State Taxpayers for Bio-Lab, Decides its Economic Analysis Doesn’t Work for NBAF
“The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine didn't inform a community liaison committee about potentially serious leaks in a high-security biocontainment building until reporters learned about the leaks”. More
Another frightening new government report is heightening fears about the safety of U.S. biodefense laboratories that study some of the world's deadliest germs. The latest worry: Intruders could easily break into two of the labs due to lax security.
The latest government study, initially obtained by The Associated Press and released publicly Thursday, found that intruders could easily break into two laboratories handling organisms that could cause illnesses with no cure.
Read the GAO Report - Biosafety Laboratories: Perimeter Security Assessment of the Nation's Five BSL-4 Laboratories Summary - Full Report
North Carolina State Auditor Les Merritt joins state Senator Doug Berger in requesting the NCC-NBAF Consortium formally withdraw Butner, North Carolina as a site for the National Bio Agro Defense Facilty (NBAF) project
(Letter was signed by Les Merritt in late Sept, Click on image to enlarge the letter)
Floor drains overflowed twice in the past two weeks at a high-security animal research building on the University of Georgia campus, requiring decontamination of a part of the building.
But officials said in both instances, the new building's containment systems worked properly and no contaminated water left UGA's Animal Health Research Center - the AHRC, pronounced "ark" for short.
No workers were harmed or contaminated, and the one research project being conducted in the area was not jeopardized, said building manager Mike Mispagel.
The biocontainment building on Carlton Street near East Campus Road officially reopened in July. Planning for the AHRC began in 1978, and UGA had a grand opening for the building in 1999. But inspectors soon found widespread serious flaws in the building, which was eventually gutted and rebuilt from the inside - tripling the price tag from $21 million to $63 million. More
Mikulski puts study requirement in funding bill - The Frederick News-Post
Congress' final spending bill for this session requires a review of the public health and safety risk assessments associated with the expansion of biodefense labs at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., announced Thursday she had included the instruction in a $600 billion consolidated spending bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday, and should pass the Senate by week's end, according to a statement from the senator's office.
As written, the language requires the Secretary of Defense to arrange for the National Academy of Sciences to do the study. More
National Citizen Coalition Appeals to Congress To Impose A Moratorium on Bio-defense Build-up and Investigate Red Flags
Granville Non Violent Action Team (GNAT) has joined with citizen groups throughout the U.S. in an appeal to Congress to investigate the current expansion of the United States biodefense program and the lack of comprehensive oversight, transparency and accountability. The allied groups call on Congress to press for an immediate halt to development of new biodefense facilities and an operational stand-down of existing programs until the many serious questions have been resolved.
Each member organization represents its own unique constituency in seven states, which are affected by eight existing or potential federally funded high containment biodefense labs. Three of the coalition groups represent communities considered for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed National Bio- and Agro- Defense Facility (NBAF). The communities represented by GNAT and No NBAF in Kansas are currently undergoing the final site selection process and are awaiting the release of DHS’s Final Environmental Impact Statement due out late this year. Columbia, Missouri, represented by the Mid-Missouri Branch of WILPF, was eliminated from NBAF consideration late last year.
An intense debate exists within the scientific community as to whether the new “biodefense” research, including that contemplated for the NBAF, is relevant to or would be effective in protecting the population against a biological attack. And even as funding has increased exponentially for biodefense research, funding for local preparedness against potential natural or lab-generated outbreaks has been slashed.
Policy group calls US biodefense progress mediocre
A bipartisan commission of former US government officials , in issuing a report card today on the federal government's progress toward preventing terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), gave the nation a C- for its efforts to reduce the threat of bioterrorism.
The Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) released its report at a press conference in Washington, DC. The 122-page report, posted on the PSA's Web site, gives the nation an overall grade of C for the measures it has taken to reduce the terrorism threat since the Sep. 11, 2001, attacks.
The nonprofit group's 22-member advisory board includes several members of the 9/11 Commission and advisors to and members of past presidential administrations. The PSA is led by Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic representative from Indiana, and Warren Rudman, a former Republican senator from Washington. The group said the report card is a part of its larger effort to assess the US government's progress toward implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. More