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BOSTON-In a ruling that could have sweeping implications for the way biotech laboratories are sited in the future, a state court ordered further environmental review of Boston University’s high security laboratory. The project is under construction in the city’s South End.

The ruling by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Ralph D. Gants found that earlier environmental assessments of the laboratory failed to adequately take into account other site options or consider worst-case scenarios if there was an accidental release of deadly biological agents. The $178-million, 194,000-sf Albany St. laboratory is designed to handle some of the world’s deadliest germs, including anthrax and Ebola.

In his decision, Gants criticized the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, calling its decision to approve the lab “arbitrary and capricious.” A spokeswoman for BU’s medical school, which is developing the property, tells GlobeSt.com that the school will appeal Gants’ decision.

“The secretary’s decision and the environmental review process were reasonable, comprehensive and complete,” she says. She added that the decision will not halt construction on the project.

Officials from the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs declined to comment on the ruling but a statement released earlier by the lab’s director, Dr. Mark Klempner, said the laboratory underwent a “rigorous and thorough “approval process and “complied fully with all federal, state and local processes and procedures.”

Opponents of the project who filed suit to stop the Biosafety Level-4 lab from being built claim that the lab is being constructed in a densely populated, less affluent area of the city without proper environmental study. The Conservation Law Foundation has also sued in federal court to stop the project, alleging that its construction violates the civil rights of minorities who live in the neighborhood.

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