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Monday, December 8, 2008

Perdue pissed at Athens biolab protestors

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Watch out, Athens residents — ya done gone made Gov. Sonny Perdue all angry-like with your opposition to the $450 million National Bio- and Agro Defense lab that was proposed near the state's epicenter of music and binge drinking.

And now that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ostensibly chosen Kansas to be the site where scientists will research common maladies such as hog chlorea and Nipah virus, Perdue's unleashed the verbal venom and started pointing fingers. You cost him "jobs!"

From a Perdue press release on Friday:

“This morning, I spoke with Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Jay Cohen about Georgia’s bid for the National Bio- and Agro- Defense Facility. He made it clear that we had a strong technical proposal that met the criteria DHS laid out for this facility. However, I was extremely disappointed to learn that despite strong support from UGA and our elected officials, a small activist minority of the local community has effectively taken away a great opportunity for the Athens area. As the Centers for Disease Control has shown, the addition of NBAF would have meant stable, high-paying jobs and significant investment for our state. When I specifically asked Under Secretary Cohen about the qualifications for the facility, he quickly pointed out that opposition by a tiny contingent was the definitive reason Athens was not selected.”

Patrick Fox of the AJC reports that members of For Athens Quality-of-Life, a group that opposed the facility, say they're happy to take the blame, but don't deserve all the credit. According to the Associated Press, Kansas may have won out because Perdue didn't kick in enough financial incentives to woo the feds.

[Says Kathy Prescott of the group:] “I don’t think [the governor] wants people to believe that one of the reasons that Georgia lost was because he didn’t pony up enough money."

Judging that these incentive packages rarely bring about any good, it may have been a good move by Perdue, who's surely looking forward to a long legislative session where the $2.5-billion budget shortfall will be of great concern.

(Photo illustration courtesy of Republican Rebel)

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