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News :: Organizing
BU Bioterrorism Lab News
15 Oct 2005
Modified: 11:47:13 AM
There several aspects to this communique:

1) Lab Safety Legislation: Take Action Now!

2)Environmental Justice Report Calls for Passage of Lab Safety Legislation

3) NIAID to Grafton: We Don't Care What You Want
Lab Safety Legislation: Take Action Now!
We have been told that the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture is working on changes to Representative Gloria Fox's groundbreaking legislation to establish and enforce health and safety standards for high containment biological laboratories, HB 1397 / HD 4249. And we have been told that the Committee may report out a bill within the next two to three weeks.

This means that now is the time to take action:

Email the Committee Co-Chairs, Pamela Resor Pamela.Resor (at) and Frank Smizik Rep.FrankSmizik (at) . Ask them to report out the revised bill that Rep. Fox gave the Committee recently. Tell them we need a strong bill.

Email Senate President Robert Traviglini Robert.Travaglini (at) and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi Rep.SalvatoreDiMasi (at) . Tell them that it is essential that the state legislature pass the bill, HB 1397 / HD 4249, An Act Protecting the Public Health and Environment from Pathogenic Biological Agents and Toxins, that was introduced by Representative Fox, that she has amended, and that is in Committee.

If your state senator or representative is on the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, be sure to email them too! Go here: to see the list of members of that Committee.

For more information, go to our webpage about the legislation ...

Upcoming event:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 7 PM, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge: Help Plan a Speak Out!

A message from our friends at Boston Mobilization:

A lot has happened in the Stop the BU Bioterrorism Lab Campaign over the past few months. There have been forums in various parts of the city, letters have been published in the papers, and both the city ordinance and the Fox legislation have been making headway. The local efforts that everyone has made in their neighborhoods are paying off.

As you all know, the Boston elections are right around the corner, and at Boston Mobilization we think this would be a great time to pull the Coalition together to show our strength. As young people here at Boston Mobilization we get excited about actions and public demonstrations, but we also think they can be very effective. We are hoping to hold a Speak Out at Boston City Hall on November 2 – the same day as the call for a national student walk-out against the war. We want activists, scientists, and the politicians who support us to come speak about the bio-lab and reaffirm their Commitment to the Community. We are also hoping to have booths or tables where people can write letters, record a message to their representatives, or express their concerns about the bio lab in other ways. We need our representatives to know how passionate we are, and we want to show the wider public too!

Come to a planning meeting on October 19 at 7pm to help us coordinate this action! 45 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA (MOBE’s new office).

For more info and to RSVP, contact Eva at 617-492-8899 or Deareva (at)

Environmental Justice Report Calls for Passage of Lab Safety Legislation

ACE entered the campaign against the BU BSL4 bioterrorism lab at the request of community residents, who identified the placement of the lab in their community as an environmental justice issue. They were not consulted about the location of the lab and do not want such a dangerous facility near where they live and work.

This week, Professors Faber and Kreig released a comprehensive report about environmental justice in Massachusetts: Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards 2005: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Using census statistics and data showing the location of hazardous waste sites, trash transfer stations and incinerators, and polluting industries, the report shows that 24 of the 30 most environmentally overburdened communities in Massachusetts are communities of color. That list of overburdened communities includes the location of the proposed bioterrorism lab! Placing a bioterrorism lab in the South End/Roxbury increases the unequal exposure to environmental hazards experienced by residents of those neighborhoods.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including that the state pass Rep. Fox's legislation: "Newer types of technologies and facilities can also pose significant risks to a community. The state should adopt An Act to Protect the Public Health and Environment from Toxic Biological Agents."

For more information about Unequal Exposure, including a downloadable copy of the report, go here....

NIAID to Grafton: We Don't Care What You Want!

Last year, residents of Grafton, a town of 13,000 located in rural Worcester County, MA, learned that Tufts Veterinary School intended to apply to NIAID for funds to build a BSL3 bioterrorism lab in Grafton. Residents were not consulted. In May, the Grafton Town Meeting voted to oppose the application of Tufts to NIAID to construct the BSL3 lab in their town.

Nonetheless, NIAID announced that it would fund the Tufts application to build a BSL3 bioterrorism lab in Grafton. In response, Grafton residents have formed Grafton Residents for a Safe Community and are considering their options to stop the Tufts bioterrorism lab.

We are not surprised by NIAID. It does not care whether a lab is in a suitable location. It will fund a BSL4 lab in the densely populated residential heart of Boston, even though it has an internal memo saying a reason to locate BSL4 labs in rural areas is to limit harm if there is a release from the lab. It is funding a BSL4 lab on Galveston Island, which was inundated by hurricane floodwaters 100 years ago. If Hurricane Rita had turned west rather than east, the location of the proposed BSL4 lab in Galveston would have been under water.

We have two responses to this. One, the Boston City Council must be like the Grafton Town Meeting -- and the Davis, CA, City Council that opposed the construction of a BSL4 lab at U.C. Davis. It must pass an ordinance to prohibit BSL4 research in Boston. Two, the state legislature must pass Representative Fox’s legislation to regulate high containment biological labs. We cannot rely on the federal government to protect us from itself.

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Re: BU Bioterrorism Lab News
18 Oct 2005
I really cant believe people waste so much time begging for so little reform, hopeing for it eventually. This is my constructive comment. I feel sorry for you.