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Biosafety lab sued by watchdog

A nuclear watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit on Monday (March 10) to suspend work at a Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which opened to little fanfare earlier this year and conducts research on pathogens such as Ebola, anthrax and Q fever. The suit, filed by linkurl:Tri-Valley CAREs,;http://www.trivalleycares.org/pressRelease/prmar08.asp a Livermore-based community group that monitors nuclear weapons and environmental cleanup activities locally and nation

By | March 12, 2008

A nuclear watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit on Monday (March 10) to suspend work at a Biosafety Level 3 lab at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which opened to little fanfare earlier this year and conducts research on pathogens such as Ebola, anthrax and Q fever. The suit, filed by linkurl:Tri-Valley CAREs,;http://www.trivalleycares.org/pressRelease/prmar08.asp a Livermore-based community group that monitors nuclear weapons and environmental cleanup activities locally and nationally, charges that the Department of Energy should have conducted a full environmental impact assessment before opening the pathogen research lab, and did not hold the necessary public comment sessions. "We have agreed to a schedule for resolution of the motion for preliminary injunction in an effort to avoid the potential expense of resources to address a temporary restraining order. This agreement will also allow the court to decide the issue as expeditiously as possible. The U.S. Department of Justice will file a response to the lawsuit on our behalf by March 26, 2008," the DOE said in a statement Emailed to The Scientist. According to a court document Emailed to The Scientist by John Belluardo, a DOE spokesman, the lab will refrain from animal experiments, genetically modifying BSL-3 pathogens, testing aerosolized pathogens, or storing more than 100 ml of BSL-3 pathogens for 60 days, while the court reviews the motion. Marylia Kelly, the executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs, said that one of the group's main concerns is that the pathogens to be studied at the lab, which are associated with bio-warfare, make the facility a potential target for terrorist attack. She also cited problems in Livermore's safety record, noting a $450,000 linkurl:fine;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54350/ the institution received last year for irregularities in shipping anthrax. Kelly added that conducting research on pathogens that could be used as bioweapons at Lawrence Livermore, which also conducts classified work on nuclear weapons, threatens enforcement of the international Biological Weapons Convention because the facility is not open to inspections. Tri-Valley CAREs first sued the DOE and Lawrence Livermore in 2003, and won a 2006 lawsuit in which the court ruled that the DOE must re-examine the threat of terrorist attack on the lab. The DOE concluded in that review that the lab posed no significant threat; the group contested that finding, and claims it was not made available for public comment as required by law.
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Comments

Avatar of: Ellen Hunt

Ellen Hunt

Posts: 199

March 13, 2008

Anthrax and plague are endemic in the area around Livermore. Q fever is found everywhere except Antarctica. \n\nThese people think they are saving the world. They are ignorant fools who somehow believe that by stopping research on cures and diagnostics they are making themselves and the world safer.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 26

March 13, 2008

The bacterium that produces botulin toxin is endemic to my backyard, but that does not make my backyard as potentially dangerous (or as desirable a terrorist target) as a facility that produced a few liters of purified botulin toxin.\n\nWhile many activists count crackpots among their numbers, it's not fair to dismiss all of their concerns out of hand.\n\nThere is nothing wrong with making triple-sure that the facility is safe and educating the local community about the safety procedures in place. We also have to set a good example for the rest of the world in terms of following the treaty against biological weapon development. If we are going to go in and kick some other country's ass for WMD research, it would be nice if we were able to distinguish what we are doing here as something different. And, yes, I know we need to protect ourselves. But is it possible without hypocrisy?\n\nBaxter Zappa

March 14, 2008

It's ridiculous that research insitutions are now becoming targets for money-making. These people assuming themselves as the watchdogs of the environment have started making all kinds of humbugs to create, just money! It's shame to sue true research!
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 4

March 14, 2008

if you don't believe bad stuff happens or that precautions are sometimes shoddy to non-existent, you need to get schooled on the deep trouble that TAMU is in with CDC over this exact stuff.

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