[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 12 (Thursday, January 19, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3107-3109]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-512]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY


National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF); Notice of Request 
for Expression of Interest for Potential Sites for the NBAF

AGENCY: Science and Technology Directorate (Office of Research & 
Development), DHS.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is exploring 
potential sites for a proposed new national research and development 
(R&D) asset, the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), which 
is in the planning phase. The proposed facility size is approximately 
500,000 ft\2\ and its site will require a minimum of 30 acres.

[[Page 3108]]

DHS is requesting Expressions of Interest from Federal agencies, State 
and Local governments, industry, academia, interested parties and 
organizations for potential locations that would accommodate the 
construction and operation of the NBAF. A consortium could be an 
appropriate respondent.
    DHS will ultimately compile a short list of sites for analysis as 
reasonable alternatives to be considered in a National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will 
assess the environmental impacts of constructing and operating the NBAF 
facility at the various alternative sites.
    DHS currently expects to publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to 
prepare an EIS in the fall of 2006, at which time the public will have 
the opportunity to comment on the scope of the analysis.

DATES: Interested parties wishing to make an Expression of Interest 
should do so in writing by March 31, 2006 to ensure their 
consideration.

ADDRESSES: Please submit Expressions of Interest to: Department of 
Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW., Bldg. 410, Attn: Glynis Fisher, 
Washington, DC 20528. For FEDEX, UPS, DHL, etc. deliveries use the 
mailroom phone number 202-772-9747.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Glynis Fisher by e-mail at glynis. 
fisher@dhs.gov or by fax to 202-205-3204.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Development of an integrated, national bio and agro-defense 
strategy has revealed that the current national bio and agro-defense 
capabilities are inadequate to meet future research requirements 
supporting both agricultural and public health national security. 
Foreign animal disease studies, public health threats from emerging, 
high-consequence zoonotic pathogens, and the need for development and 
licensure of medical countermeasures, are generating additional demands 
for biocontainment laboratory space. Current laboratory space available 
in the U.S. is not sufficient to support the increasing levels of 
research, development, and testing needed to meet the growing concerns 
about accidental or intentional introduction of foreign animal diseases 
into this country. Additional capability and capacity are also needed 
for high-consequence zoonotic disease countermeasures research and 
development and medical countermeasure testing and evaluation.
    Why a New Facility? The proposed NBAF is an integrated human, 
foreign animal, and zoonotic disease research, development and testing 
facility that will support the complementary missions of the Department 
of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Human Health and Services 
(HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). NBAF 
would provide new research, development, testing and evaluation 
infrastructure that will allow for research to enhance agricultural and 
public health. This capability is needed to fill a critical gap in the 
nation's agro and biodefense plan.
    The proposed NBAF is envisioned to provide the nation with the 
first integrated agricultural, zoonotic disease, and public health 
research, development, testing, and evaluation facility with the 
capability to address threats from human pathogens, high-consequence 
zoonotic disease agents, and foreign animal diseases. The NBAF would 
enhance the national bio-defense complex by modernizing and integrating 
agriculture biocontainment laboratories for foreign animal disease, 
human pathogens, and zoonotic diseases and could require Biosafety 
Level (BSL) 3 Agricultural and BSL 4 laboratory spaces. It would also 
provide the additional infrastructure required for threat and 
vulnerability assessments and for testing and evaluating promising 
foreign animal disease countermeasures.
    Currently, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) provides 
the only U.S. research and confirmatory diagnostic capability for high-
consequence foreign animal diseases. It is also the only laboratory in 
the U.S. equipped with research facilities that permit study of these 
diseases in livestock, such as cattle, sheep and swine. Recognizing 
that protecting the agricultural infrastructure is a critical element 
of our Nation's homeland security, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 
transferred the ownership of the PIADC from the United States 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the DHS. While DHS now has 
responsibility for operating PIADC, both DHS and USDA conduct programs 
there as part of an integrated agro-defense strategy. The proposed NBAF 
would replace the existing PIADC facility and enhance capabilities to 
meet the mandated national bio and agro-defense mission requirements of 
DHS, HHS and USDA. Request for Expression of Interest: DHS requests 
Expressions of Interest from Federal agencies, State and Local 
governments, industry, academia, interested parties and organizations 
to identify potential sites with the capabilities needed to host the 
NBAF facility. A consortium could be an appropriate respondent. NBAF is 
the proposed new facility and is in the planning phase. All viable 
options will be evaluated for the location of the facility (i.e., 
Federal government property, Federal research property, land deeded to 
the government, long-term lease, commercial site, etc.).
    This request for expression of interest, published in today's 
Federal Register, is the first step in the process to consider site 
options for the NBAF.
    DHS will evaluate each EOI submission using 4 site criteria 
categories (research capabilities, workforce, acquisition/construction/
operating and community acceptance) to determine if it should be 
further evaluated as part of the site planning process.
    Research capabilities includes proximity to: (a) Existing research 
programs [medical/veterinary/ agriculture] that can be linked to NBAF 
mission requirements, (b) strength and breadth of scientific community 
and infrastructure, (c) ability of the proposed site and surrounding 
community to absorb additional research programs and infrastructure, 
(d) experience of existing research programs with BSL3 and/or 4 agents, 
(e) proximity to other related scientific programs and research 
infrastructure, and (f) proximity to vaccine industry capability.
    Workforce includes proximity to the following: (a) Critical mass of 
intellectual research capacity, (b) recruiting opportunities for 
research staff, (c) local labor force availability for operations staff 
with expertise in operating a biocontainment facility, and (d) 
capability to meet mutual aid (police/fire/hospital) requirements to 
operate facility and be able to meet physical security requirements for 
a BSL3/4 facility.
    Acquisition/construction/operations includes: (a) Land acquisition/
development potential to locate the facility, (b) access to the site by 
highways and proximity to international airports, (c) environmental 
compatibility with the intended use of the site, (d) adequate utility 
infrastructure to support operations of facility, and (e) availability 
of local labor force for construction.
    Community acceptance includes letters of support for locating NBAF 
at the site (i.e., local and state governments, national and local 
agricultural producer and commodity stakeholders, industry, academia, 
etc.).
    DHS requires the following information for each proposed NBAF 
location:

[[Page 3109]]

    1. A description of your consortium/ organization, its capabilities 
to support the location of the NBAF at its recommended site, and its 
interest in the DHS's NBAF program.
    2. Letters of support for locating the NBAF facility at the site 
(i.e., local and state government, academia, industry, etc.).
    3. A description of how the potential site addressed the four site 
criteria categories (research capabilities, workforce, and acquisition/ 
construction/operating) described above.
    4. A map showing the location of the potential site, nearby (within 
10 miles) political boundaries, demographics and characteristics of 
surrounding communities (within 10 miles), historical and cultural 
resources on site and contiguous to property, roads, railroads, 
airports, water bodies, parkland or other environmentally sensitive 
areas, and ecological characteristics of site.
    5. A site description including ownership, total site acreage and 
acreage available for development (minimum 30 acres for NBAF facility); 
existing physical infrastructure including number of structures, their 
size, vintage and current use; current activities; on-site tenants (if 
applicable); estimated cost as tenant, access control systems; bioagent 
and hazardous materials handling at the site; waste management 
activities and capabilities for solid and liquid waste; previous 
regulatory compliance problems and past/current environmental concerns/
contamination and clean up.
    6. Availability/access to utilities (electric, water, steam, 
chilled water, distilled water) at the site for state-of-the-art 
biocontainment laboratory.
    7. Safety and occupational health, risk management and 
environmental surveillance at the site.
    Expression of Interest Format: The length of the Expression of 
Interest should be no more than 20 pages (letters of support do not 
count against page limit) using 12-point font. While the responder may 
determine how best to use the 20 pages, we recommend the following 
format: SECTION 1--Summary; SECTION 2--Description of location with 
specific reference to the 7 items requested by DHS above; SECTION 3--
Discussion of the site criteria categories related to state-of-the-art 
biocontainment laboratories or operations of similar complexity. When 
describing similar work that has been performed, include the name of 
the organization, contract number if applicable, and name and telephone 
number of the organization's point of contact and contracting officer, 
as applicable.
    Proprietary Information: If the Expression of Interest contains 
information that the submitter believes is privileged or confidential, 
the appropriate portions of the submission should be marked 
``Proprietary Information.'' This restriction does not limit the 
Government's right to use or disclose data obtained without restriction 
from any source, including the respondent.
    Submission: Submissions received after the closing date will not be 
considered. Each submittal (with full contact information: name, 
address, phone, fax and e-mail) should consist of an original plus 
three photocopies, and DHS also requests that the submittal include an 
electronic version of all materials, preferably in PDF format.
    DHS will not consider attachments or appendices. Faxed or e-mailed 
submissions will not be accepted. Respondents may submit written 
questions within 20 business days of this notice being published. 
Questions may be submitted by e-mail to glynis.fisher@dhs.gov or by fax 
to 202-205-3204. The responses to frequently asked questions, any other 
significant questions and any amendments or corrections to the EOI will 
be posted on the NBAF Planning and Outreach Web site at www.dhs.gov/
nbaf.
    DHS is under no obligation to pay for any costs associated with the 
preparation or submission of Expressions of Interest in response to 
this notice. DHS reserves the right to respond or not respond to any 
portion, all, or none of the Expressions of Interest submitted in 
response to this Notice. Responders whose submissions are deemed worthy 
of further consideration given the criteria expressed herein may be 
asked to provide additional information. DHS's further consideration of 
certain Responders' Expressions of Interest does not obligate DHS to 
provide funds to such Responders or to enter into contractual 
relationships with such Responders.

    Dated: December 28, 2005.
Maureen I. McCarthy,
Director, Office of Research and Development, Department of Homeland 
Security.
[FR Doc. E6-512 Filed 1-18-06; 8:45 am]
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