In an unexpected announcement, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has named 18 sites in 11 states to advance in the competition for the proposed $451 million National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). The original list contained 29 applicants. Among those that have survived this round of cuts, four sites are in Texas, three are in Mississippi, and two each are in Kansas and Georgia.For several months, the DHS Web site has maintained that the department would announce a "short list of sites (or site) selected for further review" next month (September 2006), and then prepare environmental impact statements for each one. The announcement yesterday (August 9) said the short list will not be announced until "the end of 2006," and the environmental assessments will begin after that.Edward Hammond, US director for the Sunshine Project, a biological weapons watchdog group, said that the approaching November elections...

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