Plum Island Animal Disease Center facing uncertain future

The Plum Island Animal Disease Center has been in business for nearly 50 years, but now faces an uncertain future.

The Department of Homeland Security says the facility is obsolete and should be upgraded or closed. Officials say the lab needs to be completely rebuilt and upgraded to Bio-Safety Level 4, which deals diseases that have no vaccines or antidotes.

However, Congressman Timothy Bishop (D-Southampton) says the work done at the center is important. In addition, there is an act of Congress that stipulates research of that type has to be done on an island location. Plum Island employs approximately 200 people. Businesses in the area say the loss of the lab to the area would be devastating.

Congressman Bishop and Senator Hilary Clinton (D-NY) are demanding a meeting with the Department of Homeland Security. The federal government plans to set aside $450 million to build a new lab by the year 2011.

Related Link: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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