BOSTON-Community and environmental activists have filed a federal lawsuit to stop the construction of a high-security laboratory in the South End that would deal with biological agents, including anthrax and the plague. The suit, drafted by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, seeks to stop the National Institute of Health from funding the 194,000-sf laboratory, which is currently being built on Albany Street by Boston University School of Medicine.

The funding was awarded to BUMC in September 2003 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH. The suit, filed late last week in US District Court here, claims the federal agency failed to adequately consider the potential environmental and health hazards associated with building a high security laboratory in a densely populated area before awarding BU $128 million to fund its construction.

“What we’re seeking is to stop the federal funding for this facility because they didn’t file the required environmental reviews,” Nadine Cohen, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee, tells GlobeSt.com. “Before you put this lab in this densely populated neighborhood, you have to look at the potential health risks and we say they did not adequately do this as required.” Cohen says the legal advocacy group also plans to file a preliminary injunction with the court to immediately halt any further building until arguments in the case are heard.

Officials with the National Institute of Health and BUMC could not be reached for comment by GlobeSt.com. A statement released by the lab’s director, Dr. Mark Klempner, however, said the laboratory underwent a “rigorous and thorough “approval process and “complied fully with all federal, state and local processes and procedures.”

The laboratory, one of four being built nationwide as part of the Bush Administrations plans to protect the nation against bioterrorism, lied in a predominantly minority area, a neighborhood that Cohen says is already overburdened by health and environmental problems. Cohen said BUMC also failed to adequately consider other sites for the project, including Hillsboro, NH and Tyngsboro, MA, where Boston University also owns property.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

 

GlobeSt

Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.