FREDERICK, Md. (AP) – Fifteen contract laboratory workers are being laid off at Fort Detrick because of budget cuts at the Department of Homeland Security.
The agency has cut $8 million from its contract with the new biodefense lab operated by Battelle National Biodefense Institute at Fort Detrick.
Late last year, a spokesman says Homeland Security officials decided to scale back the contract and write risk assessment reports in-house, rather than contract them out.
Homeland Security spokesman John Verrico says the new $147 million lab is still a priority. The lab’s construction was completed in 2008, and it is still undergoing safety and environmental testing to become fully operational.
Verrico says no other budget cuts are being considered.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)