PlanetSave - California appellate judge sees proposed biodefense lab as 'troublesome':
A federal appellate judge said she found it "troublesome'' that the Bush administration plans to open a lab for testing lethal agents including HIV, plague and anthrax in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area.
However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave no indication Tuesday of when it will rule on a lower court's decision to allow the government to open the biodefense lab at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of San Francisco.
Administration officials have been preparing the lab for years, and said this week it plans to open the facility by August.
Local residents asked a federal court to block the project in 2003. The following year, a federal judge said it could proceed, and the opponents appealed.
The government failed to consider the possibility that a plane or truck could be deliberately crashed into the site, said Stephan Volker, the opponents' lead attorney.
Volker said his clients want a new, thorough environmental assessment report that would supplant the one the Department of Energy conducted in 2002, or an even broader environmental impact review.
The facility would test airborne agents, which could also include hantavirus, influenza, hepatitis, Q fever, brucellis, herpes and salmonella, among others, on live animals.