Proposed bio-defense lab worries Triangle

August 6, 2008 6:39:49 PM PDT
A proposed bio-defense lab could bring a much needed economic boost to the triangle, but critics say it could also pose a serious health risk to the area's water supply.

The $450 million facility issue was up for debate at a public meeting Tuesday in Raleigh.

"This is a program to diagnose foreign and animal diseases and to eliminate the spread of these diseases," Warwick Arden with the Bio Defense Consortium said.

Concerned residents are giving Raleigh city leaders an earful. The proposed site is upstream from several Triangle area lakes.

"So do the right thing, make the right decision for our drinking water supply, my daughter's drinking water supply," opponent, Dean Naujoks said.

The city council is considering whether to support the lab or join the fight against it.

"I urge you not to support this lab," opponent, Nancy Pemberton said.

Butner is one of several sites the federal government is considering nationwide.

"We know that as a country and a state that we do not have the means to protect agriculture," supporter, Warwick Arden said.

Supporters say it would bring jobs and a boost to the state's economy to the tune of $1.6 billion, but for some it is not worth the risk.

"This is not safe because it's governed by humans and humans commit errors," opponent, Nancy Pemberton said.

Raleigh city leaders say they could make a decision on where they stand on the issue in about two weeks.


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