Residents speak out about bio-defense lab

February 20, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Dozens of people are voicing their concerns about a proposed bio-defense lab.

The federal government wants to build it in Granville County.

Supporters say it would bring jobs and a $1.6 billion boost to the economy. But others say it is not worth the risk.

Homeland Security was at a public meeting in Creedmoor Thursday night to answer questions.

"You cannot address our questions, how can we know," Opponent, Patricia Howell said.

Howell says her entire family has Lyme disease.

"Nobody knows exactly where it came from but Lyme, Connecticut is right off the coast of Plum Island," Howell said.

The director of the Plum Island lab, similar to the one proposed in Butner, faced a barrage of questions and fears; specifically about what impact the lab that studies animal diseases would have on nearby water supply.

"The plant, the animal, the water supply; all that will be assessed," Plum Island Director Larry Barrett said.

The $450 million facility would bring with it hundreds of jobs. North Carolina is one of six potential sites.

"Just having that collaboration with researchers is extremely important and we want to be able to leverage that," Barrett said.

"All it takes is one accident, that one in a million chance," Howell added.

There will be another meeting in June, after an environmental impact study is released.


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