Living Terror 3: A haphazard lab plan

An administration program to build a nationwide system of biodefense laboratories is geographically haphazard and duplicative, according to critics, created by disparate government agencies with differing missions and too much money. The $10.6 billion biodefense program is administered by a dizzying array of agencies: the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some $2.5 billion or more of this massive budget is earmarked for building or upgrading high-security biodefense research labs sponsored by different agencies. Yet there is no organization coordinating the buildup, nor has there ever been a public hearing examining all the different laboratory construction and security plans and whether they complement or duplicate one another.

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