Friday, June 20, 2008

NBAF EIS Released

The draft environmental impact study for NBAF is out. At a quick glance, it looks like UGA's South Milledge site is taking the most hits for its visual impact and proximity to the Oconee River, although in fairness most impacts are listed as "moderate," "minor" or "negligible." Some of the other issues relate to distance from civilization (piping, infrastructure, etc.) -- not sure if DHS sees that as a positive or negative.

Details follow from DHS, and include links to the executive summary and the full report (large file warning). As I have stated repeatedly, this is a project that could be beneficial for our area given the quality of the jobs that it would provide and the critical mass it might provide in a growing industry. I have also said that we need to base the local debate on facts (not rhetoric); hopefully this document will help provide some of those facts for those who want to make an honest assessment. Either way, am sure this release will light up the local blogosphere over the weekend....

Dear Interested Party:

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces the availability of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Draft Environmental Impact Statement (NBAF DEIS). A copy of the Executive Summary is attached for your information and review. The NBAF DEIS and Executive Summary are also available online at (click on Environmental Impact Statement) and in reading rooms as listed on the website. If you requested a hard copy of the document or a CD these will be sent in the mail to you. Please let us know if you do not receive a copy in the next week so we can ensure you receive the material.

The NBAF DEIS analyzes the potential environmental impacts of taking no action, as well as siting, constructing, and operating the proposed NBAF at the six site alternatives: 1) South Milledge Avenue Site, Athens, Georgia; 2) Manhattan Campus Site, Manhattan, Kansas; 3) Flora Industrial Park Site, Flora, Mississippi; 4) Plum Island Site, Plum Island, New York; 5) Umstead Research Farm Site, Butner, North Carolina; and 6) Texas Research Park Site; San Antonio, Texas.

In preparing the NBAF DEIS, DHS considered comments received from the public during the scoping period (July 31 through September 28, 2007). During the 60-day public comment period commencing on June 27, 2008 for the NBAF DEIS, DHS will hold public meetings to present the results of the environmental impact analyses and give the public the opportunity to provide its comments. The public meetings will be held in the vicinity of each proposed NBAF site alternative and in Washington, D.C. Meeting dates, times, and locations will be announced in the Federal Register, via local news media, through direct mail, and posted on the NBAF Web page (

Comments may be submitted orally, in writing at the public meetings or by using one of the following mechanisms:


U.S. Department of Homeland Security

James V. Johnson

Mail Stop #2100

245 Murray Lane, SW, Building 410

Washington, DC 20528


1-866-508-NBAF (6223)


1-866-501-NBAF (6223)

ONLINE: (click on Public Involvement)

All comments (oral and written) received during the public comment period, which commences on June 27, 2008 and ends on August 25, 2008, will be given equal consideration and addressed in the final NBAF EIS. Individual names and addresses (including e-mail addresses) received as part of comment documents on the NBAF DEIS normally are part of the public record. DHS plans to reproduce comment documents in their entirety in the final NBAF EIS. Any person wishing to have his/her name, address, or other identifying information withheld from the public record of comment documents must state this request prominently at the beginning of any comment document. DHS will honor the request to the extent allowable by law. All submissions from organizations and businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be included in the public record and open to public inspection in their entirety.

I look forward to your participation in this important process. Thank you for your interest in the proposed NBAF.

Thank you,

NBAF Program Management Office

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