Summary: H.R.1717 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (08/01/2008)

Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to establish in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF), which shall: (1) be an integrated human, foreign-animal, and disease research, development, testing, and evaluation facility to support DHS, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other federal agencies in defending against the threat of agroterrorism and certain naturally-occurring incidents related to agriculture; and (2) produce and share knowledge and technology for the purpose of protecting animal and public health and reducing economic losses caused by diseases of livestock and poultry.

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a joint strategy to define the respective roles and responsibilities of DHS and USDA regarding activities undertaken at NBAF on foreign animal diseases. Authorizes the Secretaries to: (1) enter into agreements with the heads of federal agencies with missions that may be supported by NBAF activities; or (2) use existing agreements with such heads to define the respective roles and responsibilities of each agency in carrying out research, development, testing, evaluation, and diagnostic activities at NBAF.

Directs the DHS Secretary to appoint a Director of NBAF who shall be responsible for: (1) managing, operating, and maintaining NBAF; (2) ensuring NBAF physical site security, information security, biosafety, biosecurity, and biosurety; (3) developing an emergency response plan for training and notifying emergency response providers in the surrounding community; and (4) monitoring the activities of DHS and USDA and reporting to the respective Secretaries on the status of the fulfillment of each Department's obligations.

Requires the DHS Secretary to appoint one or more Directors of Homeland Security Programs, one of whom shall be the Director of Homeland Security Research Programs at NBAF. Makes that Director responsible for: (1) directing the research programs of DHS at NBAF; (2) facilitating the coordination of federal, state, and local governmental efforts and resources relating to DHS's activities carried out pursuant to the joint strategy; (3) providing training to DHS research and technical staff at NBAF; (4) conducting animal model development, testing, and evaluation to support the development of human medical countermeasures; and (5) leveraging the expertise of academic institutions, private industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories, state and local governmental resources, and professional organizations to carry out DHS's activities at NBAF.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to appoint one or more Directors of USDA Programs at NBAF who shall be responsible for directing the programs of the Department at NBAF.

Directs the DHS Secretary to ensure that the NBAF facility: (1) consists of state-of-the-art biocontainment laboratories capable of performing research and activities at Biosafety Levels 3 and 4; (2) is of sufficient size in terms of acreage and laboratory capacity and has access to necessary supporting infrastructure to enable the Secretaries to carry out their respective responsibilities pursuant to the joint strategy; and (3) is located at a site that has been subject to an Environmental Impact Statement. Authorizes the DHS Secretary to acquire real property for NBAF through purchase or donation and to accept and use in-kind donations of personal property, laboratory and office space, utility services, and infrastructure upgrades to carry out the purposes of the Act.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to issue a permit to the DHS Secretary for work on the live virus of foot and mouth disease at NBAF, which shall be valid unless the Secretary of Agriculture finds that the study of such live virus at NBAF is not being carried out in accordance with regulations issued under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002.

Authorizes appropriations.