Speak Up: Public Comment Period Opens for BU Bioterror Lab

Boston University (BU) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are preparing a mandatory revised risk assessment for BU’s National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL), which has received substantial federal funding through NIH. I described the specifics of this risk assessment in an earlier post. The draft of that risk assessment is currently ready for public review. Though we reported in our last post that the public hearing for NIH’s draft risk assessment would be held February 16, that hearing was delayed by NIH. NIH recently announced that the hearing has been rescheduled for April 19 and that they are accepting public comments on the draft risk assessment. Your input in this public process is crucial – here is how you can get involved:

  • Review the Draft Risk Assessment: The first step is to review what NIH has prepared. You can access the draft risk assessment electronically here, and the accompanying Reader’s Guide here. You can also obtain a hard copy of the draft risk assessment and Reader’s Guide in the mail by e-mailing NIH at NIH_BRP@od.nih.gov or calling (301) 496-9838 to place your request.
  • Submit Written Comments: Any member of the public can submit comments to NIH on the draft assessment – that means you! The public comment period closes on May 1, 2012. After reviewing the draft risk assessment, submit your comments to NIH by May 1st via email at NIH_BRP@od.nih.gov or in hard copy to: The National Institutes of Health, ATTN: NEIDL Risk Assessment, 6705 Rockledge Drive, Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20892.
  • Attend the Hearing: The public hearing on the draft risk assessment has been rescheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2012, from 6:30-9:30 PM at Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Boston, MA 02120. This is your opportunity to offer comments on the risk assessment verbally. We strongly encourage you to support the local community members opposing this project by attending this public hearing – either to offer comments yourself, or to offer support through your presence. If you would like to offer oral comments, you will need to sign-in prior to the start of the meeting. You can sign-in beginning at 5:30 PM.

Your written and oral comments can be as long/detailed or brief/big-picture as you like – there is no one way to express your opinion. The important thing is that you speak up.

Check the CLF Scoop for more updates or contact me at jrushlow@clf.org with any questions.

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