No Level 3 Biohazard Laboratory or Bathtub Basement Construction in Our Community

To: Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, the Trustees of Columbia University, Governor David Patterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and New York City Council President Christine Quinn

We, the undersigned, call upon Columbia University and our state and local governments to halt all construction of the bathtub basement and Level 3 biohazard laboratories in Columbia University's proposed Manhattanville expansion.

Columbia's proposed Biohazard Level 3 biotech laboratories would be allowed to handle deadly pathogens such as typhoid fever, West Nile virus, avian flu, the plague, malaria, influenza and anthrax in an area with 1,000,000 people in a three-mile radius.

Biohazard Level 3 laboratories are targets for internal and external sabotage.  Columbia did not properly assess this risk in its environmental impact statement for the project.

The air or water release of deadly biological agents could jeopardize the safety of tens of thousands of people in the neighborhood, contaminate our food, air and water and destroy property values.  Even the construction of the project could affect such values and make buildings uninsurable.

These deadly biological agents would be transported through the streets of our neighborhood by common carriers such as FedEx and UPS by messengers who, by law, cannot know the contents of their deliveries.

There are no comprehensive federal reporting guidelines on biotech accidents and we would never know the truth about accidents in the facility.

Although Columbia University has been cited by the EPA for environmental and safety violations, it is now responsible for auditing itself for EPA violations.

Columbia's proposed expansion project includes a five-to-seven story 2,000,000 square-foot contiguous "bathtub" basement.  Senior scientists at Columbia University's own Lamont Doherty Earth Science Center have repeatedly questioned the safety of the proposed "bathtub" due to its location in an area designated as an evacuation zone by both NYC's and NYS's Office of Emergency Management because it is subject to potentially devastating storm surges during hurricanes.

Columbia's proposed bathtub, holding two gas-fired generating plants and a NYC bus depot, would be excavated on an earthquake fault-line.  98,000 truckloads of the removed earth would be transported through our community which has one of the highest asthma rates in the U.S.

Over 5,000 of our neighbors will be displaced for biohazard labs that will endanger our health and safety.
Columbia's proposed Biohazard Level 3 biotech laboratories would be allowed to handle deadly pathogens such as typhoid fever, West Nile virus, avian flu, the plague, malaria, influenza and anthrax in an area with 1,000,000 people in a three-mile radius.

Biohazard Level 3 laboratories are targets for internal and external sabotage.  Columbia did not properly assess this risk in its environmental impact statement for the project.

The air or water release of deadly biological agents could jeopardize the safety of tens of thousands of people in the neighborhood, contaminate our food, air and water and destroy property values.  Even the construction of the project could affect such values and make buildings uninsurable.

These deadly biological agents would be transported through the streets of our neighborhood by common carriers such as FedEx and UPS by messengers who, by law, cannot know the contents of their deliveries.

There are no comprehensive federal reporting guidelines on biotech accidents and we would never know the truth about accidents in the facility.

Although Columbia University has been cited by the EPA for environmental and safety violations, it is now responsible for auditing itself for EPA violations.

Columbia's proposed expansion project includes a five-to-seven story 2,000,000 square-foot contiguous "bathtub" basement.  Senior scientists at Columbia University's own Lamont Doherty Earth Science Center have repeatedly questioned the safety of the proposed "bathtub" due to its location in an area designated as an evacuation zone by both NYC's and NYS's Office of Emergency Management because it is subject to potentially devastating storm surges during hurricanes.

Columbia's proposed bathtub, holding two gas-fired generating plants and a NYC bus depot, would be excavated on an earthquake fault-line.  98,000 truckloads of the removed earth would be transported through our community which has one of the highest asthma rates in the U.S.

Over 5,000 of our neighbors will be displaced for biohazard labs that will endanger our health and safety.
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