Homeland Security Officials Visit Site For Possible Bio-Terrorism Lab

Homeland security officials got their first look at a site in Pulaski County where a proposed bio terrorism lab could be built.

While dozens of protestors hope the federal government will soon take their farming community off the list, others say the lab is needed to improve the local quality of life.

It is typical rural America.

Farmland as far as the eye can see and many of these people fear if a half billion dollar bio lab is built, it will change forever.

“It's just the change. I mean this is a farming community. These are farming people. This is our way of life,” Steve Wall said.

Homeland Security officials visited the sight from the air and on the ground.

They want to know if these fields northeast of Somerset would be suitable for their lab where hundreds of scientists would research lethal substances as part of the war on terror.

Protestors say not in my backyard.

“I just feel like if they bring something like this to this area, it will hang a big red bulls eye for terrorists later on,” Kenneth Hamilton said.

Many of these people want to share their concerns directly with federal officials.

They were not given a chance.

Even a member of Hal Roger's staff did not answer reporter's questions about the secrecy surrounding the event.

But local officials say even they were kept in the dark and they say homeland security won't be influenced one way or the other.

Some worry of chemicals or diseases leaking from the lab.

But others say the lab will bring in jobs and future opportunities for children.

“I think that we need to look at it from a futuristic thing. What are we leaving for our kids. So many of our young people have gone away to college and haven't come back. That's the problem,” Jack Kenney said.

Homeland Security will choose a site for lab in the fall of 2008.

Homeland security officials say another short list of sites will be named in June.

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