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Kansas Unhappy With Bio-Lab Budget Cuts

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Leaders in Kansas voiced deep concern Monday when President Obama released his budget because a high-visibility project expected to spur economic growth in Kansas may no longer receive federal funding.

Pres. Obama recommended no additional funding for construction of the National Bio-and Agro-defense Facility planned for Manhattan, near Kansas State University.

Congress appropriated only $50 million of the $150 million the Obama administration requested for the lab in the current budget year. The White House determined that amount was insufficient to begin construction and asked the Department of Homeland Security to reevaluate the project. The reevaluation is expected to cost $10 million.

According to the Associated Press, the project would cost an estimated $650 million and would replace an aging facility at Plum Island, N.Y.

Workers have already cleared the Kansas site, and the state has committed itself to authorizing up to $105 million in bonds to help with the project. State officials envisioned the lab, which would research foot-and-mouth and other dangerous animal diseases, as a key part of an emerging biosciences industry.

Gov. Sam Brownback and other Kansas leaders vowed to fight for the lab, which they say will protect the security of the nation's food supply.

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