Sebelius to speak at NBAF forum


    The selection game for the newest national defense laboratory will bring Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to campus Thursday as state and university officials gather in their continuing effort to convince national decision-makers to build the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility in Manhattan. Several speakers will provide expert opinions on the subject and also field questions in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union.

    According to a K-State press release, the public meetings, which are scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon, are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s process of determining the effect a national facility focusing on animal and food health would have.

    Thursday’s series will focus on the environmental influence of each aspect of constructing and operating such a facility in Manhattan, said Cheryl May, assistant vice president of media relations and marketing.

    May also said the series will be conducted during two separate sessions, which will take place from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. Both sessions are open to the public and community members who want to voice their opinions on the NBAF’s potential effect on Manhattan’s environment. May said those wanting to participate in one of the two meetings can sign up starting at 12:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, prior to each session on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    The sessions will include one hour to sign up to speak and review information about the NBAF. There will also be a one-hour explanation of the NBAF’s Environmental Impact Statement, followed by the two-hour comment period, which will start at either 2:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.

    According to the press release, many K-State leaders will be available for information, and Sebelius is expected to speak during the 2:30-4:30 p.m. session.

    The five other candidate cities for the NBAF include Flora, Miss., San Antonio, Texas, Butner, N.C., Plum Island, N.Y., and Athens, Ga., according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Web site.

    Information and comments presented at the sessions on Thursday will be used by the Department of Homeland Security to compile an NBAF Environmental Impact Statement on the effects the facility might have in the Manhattan community.