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News :: Environment : Race : War and Militarism
BU Attempting to Bypass Biolab Safety Review
26 Aug 2011
At BU’s invitation, plaintiffs in the lawsuits against the BU Bio-Terror
Lab and their counsel met yesterday with representatives of BU and their
attorneys to hear details of BU's proposed waiver request. In their Aug.
12 press release, BU stated that, if granted, the waiver would enable them
to operate the level 1 and 2 labs and to begin the permitting process for
the Level 3 lab. Though BU claims the Risk Assessment will be “reviewed
and considered” for the level 3 labs, what we learned yesterday is that BU
intends to circumvent the requirement that the state review the Risk
Assessment of the level 3 labs.
Though, currently, BU is required to submit the final draft of the Risk
Assessment for MEPA review, the waiver would allow them to operate level 3
labs without undergoing this regulatory review. Thus, according to BU’s
plan, the Risk Assessment would not be “reviewed and considered” by the MEPA
office as required by state regulations, but rather would be “reviewed and
considered” at the state and local level only by BU and other, less binding
authorities. BU’s plan for its level 3 labs seeks to totally bypass the MEPA
process, which was set up to protect communities like ours.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), a state
environmental agency, administers the MEPA review process to ensure that the
risks associated with development projects are adequately considered. This
regulatory measure is in place to protect communities surrounding major
developments like the NEIDL. BU’s submissions to the MEPA office throughout
this process have been poorly prepared and inadequate. This latest attempt
to circumvent MEPA review for level 3 labs fits BU’s pattern.

The plaintiffs have presented an Alternative Vision for the labs that could
resolve the ongoing dispute over this project and meet everyone’s needs. In
response to BU’s waiver proposal, the Plaintiffs again presented a proposal
to BU that could bring this matter to resolution. However, BU has refused
to explore any option other than their proposal for a fully-functional lab
containing full BSL 3 and BSL 4 facilities. Klare Allen, Community
Organizer for the Roxbury Safety Net and Coalition stated:

“Our fight has just begun. BU’s arrogant decision to continue to
ignore the community and to evade our state’s regulations is a huge
mistake.”

This work is in the public domain.
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