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Columbia, MO loses out on federal bioresearch lab

By Jim Matheny, KBIA

Columbia, MO – The University of Missouri-Columbia was not part of a list released Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security of five finalists for a new biological research lab.

Columbia was one 17 locations bidding for the national Bio and Agro Defense facility to study terrorist attacks on livestock.

George Stewart, the chairs of MU's Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, says the government's decision was disappointing and a new lab would have benefited the entire community.

"It's a huge economic impact loss, obviously," Stewart said. "You're talking about a $400 million construction project. And a facility that will employ about 300 people full-time, have an annual budget in the 60 to 80 million dollars a year. You know, economically it is a huge loss."

But not everyone supported MU's bid for the research lab.

It would have stood on New Haven road just off Highway 63. Some residents protested the site for fear of health risks.

The Missouri Cattleman's Association also withdrew support for the lab since the proposed site was so close to 63 and Interstate 70, two of Missouri's major routes for transporting cattle.

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