22.924.10 97th Legislative Session 852
Introduced by: Senator Frye-Mueller
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, urging the highest levels of safety and oversight in the operation of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
WHEREAS, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility currently being constructed in Manhattan, Kansas, will be a state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratory for the study of diseases that threaten America's animal agriculture industry and public health; and
WHEREAS, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will be designated as a biosafety level 4 facility, which requires the highest level of biosafety precautions, in order to perform diagnostic work and research on easily transmitted pathogens that can cause fatal disease; and
WHEREAS, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is expected to be operational in 2022-23 and will then replace the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which is located off the coast of Long Island, New York; and
WHEREAS, the plan to construct the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility has been controversial from the time it was unveiled, due to allegedly flawed cost assessments and risk assessments; and
WHEREAS, upon completion, laboratory contents from Plum Island will be transferred half-way across the country, into the heartland of American agriculture; and
WHEREAS, these laboratory contents are believed to include highly infectious and dangerous pathogens, such as the viruses that cause swine fever and foot and mouth disease, and deadly pathogens that are transmittable from animals to humans and for which there is no treatment; and
WHEREAS, conducting such research in close proximity to susceptible wildlife and the epicenter of the American livestock industry increases exponentially the risks associated with an accidental or intentional pathogen release, which could result in immeasurable financial impacts to the livestock industry and an unprecedented loss of human life:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Senate of the Ninety-Seventh Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that because the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is a federal facility, the Legislature urges the South Dakota congressional delegation and their counterparts from other heartland agricultural states to pursue all statutory, regulatory, or judicial measures necessary to prohibit any effort by or on the part of the facility to obtain, transport, or conduct research involving any of the highly contagious livestock viruses, including foot and mouth disease and swine fever, which could jeopardize food security for millions of people and multiple years; and that, with respect to all other research, demand that the facility be operated only under the most stringent level of safety and security; that there be rigorous oversight regarding the nature and type of work being conducted at the facility; that appropriate plans be developed to immediately mitigate the devastating personal and financial consequences of any accidental or intentional pathogenic release; and that an annual report be provided to the Governor, the Legislature, and the people of this state, regarding compliance with these matters and other operational aspects of the facility that might negatively impact the safety and wellbeing of South Dakotans.
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