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10 August 2006

Biotech Lab Out for McClellan

There will be no deadly disease research at McClellan.

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday eliminated the former army base from a list of finalists for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a research center that will develop ways to protect the nation’s public health and food supply from terrorism.

McClellan had been touted as a host for the $450 million center by a coalition of business, community and college organizations led by Auburn University and backed by Gov. Bob Riley. An application for the site was sent to Washington last March after a hurried month of preparation.

Pete Conroy, a JPA board member and Director of Jacksonville State University’s Environmental Policy and Information Center. Conroy also was concerned that the center would add to Anniston’s “toxic town” reputation and frighten business and developers.

“The NBAF is a great project, but it was a bad fit for this particular community,” Conroy said. “This gives us a terrific opportunity to take advantage of the partnership to prepare for that opportunity, running with something that’s bigger and better and completely positive.”

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