The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recommended Kansas State University at Manhattan as the site of a $451 million lab designed to study foreign animal diseases.

DHS officials have not confirmed the recent announcement made by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), pending public release of an environmental impact statement.

Construction of the facility in Manhattan would mark the most significant economic development in the city since the founding of Kansas State University, according to Lyle Butler, president of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce.

However, a New York lawmaker, whose district includes the Plum Island animal research facility off eastern Long Island, has protested the decision. Rep. Tim Bishop has indicated he will ask the incoming Obama administration to reconsider spending half-a-billion dollars to create a research facility that would duplicate many of the functions currently served by Plum Island.