Thursday, December 04, 2008

The morning after

Blake's article on NBAF is here, and while a draft of the Homeland Security memo is here.

A couple of quick observations ...

Drawing from the chart on page seven which ranked the six finalists and assigned each one with corresponding colors to rate how they met the criteria laid out for approval, the Athens-Clarke County proposal was ... average. It was straight yellow across the board which indicated 'partial fulfillment of overall criteria' or 'acceptable security risks with or without mitigation.'

And the report notes that. It says that, yes, FAQ helped organize vocal opposition, but also said that federal, state and local officials were strong advocates for the project.

Red Petrovs, the co-chair for OneAthens and vocal supporter of the project, said in an email to me yesterday that he felt FAQ 'only played a minor role, if any, in the decision process. I believe, based on what I hear, that the financial incentives in Kansas far overrode anything positive or negative that Athens may have said or done as a community.'

Because, as always, it's all about money, and the state didn't pony up enough compared to Kansas.

The memo also said that the UGA site offered 'proximity to world class capabilities across disciplines related to the NBAF' but there was little evidence of coordination between the biomedical research community and much of the research is devoted specifically to poultry.

It said the area was 'rich in high containment laboratory building expertise' but that site but need an amendment to be tacked on to the existing Athens-Clarke County Comprehensive Plan due its current use.

It's the classic glass-is-half-empty analysis and, in the end, Athens-Clarke County was too lukewarm and DHS spit us out.


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