Sunday, October 13, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, January 16, 2016
Lawsuit Challenges Secrecy at UH Manoa Bio-Safety Lab
By Selected News Articles @ 1:21 PM :: 2030 Views :: Higher Education

Watchdog Demands Report on Lab Troubles

by Julie St. Louis, Court House News, January 15, 2016

HONOLULU (CN) - A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit may finally force the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release information about the safety of University of Hawaii-Manoa's bioscience building - at least that's the hope of Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, which filed the suit in Hawaii Federal Court on Jan. 7.

After media outlets reported that the CDC found "widespread regulatory noncompliance" in the university's labs that use biological agents and toxins in 2014, the watchdog asked for a copy of the agency's report.

But the CDC withheld the report entirely, despite permission given by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 that the agency may withhold only portions of its investigations, the watchdog claims.

"By refusing to disclose redacted records, CDC violated the careful balance struck by Congress between transparency and security," the organization says in its complaint.

The group also claims that information about the use of "select agents at UH is readily accessible in the public domain," negating CDC's claim that even portions of those records would endanger public health and safety.

The university has an operational Bio-Safety Level-3 and an Animal Bio-Safety Level-3 biocontainment facility in the bioscience building of the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaka'ako. Among the many agents researched are botulinum neurotoxins, Ebola viruses and the neurotoxin Tetrodotoxin.

The safety concern over Hawaii's only facility of this kind - for researchers and the nation - was first brought to light through a 2015 USA Today expose.

USA Today got its on a May 2014 letter from the CDC to the university telling them of "serious regulatory deficiencies" that included failure to implement procedures for pre-access, and discussing "a serious disregard for regulatory requirements.

"Though the university had installed the hardware for a required intrusion-detection system in Tier 1 pathogen areas, the university has failed to render this system operational," the CDC wrote.

Regulators expressed concerns about "serious biosafety departures," and that the CDC "strongly recommended" the university cease all work with Tier 1 select agents and enter into a storage-only status until it completed a federal performance improvement program.

After the USA Today expose, university officials released an email statement that the university "fulfilled all requirements of the performance improvement plan," and the CDC renewed the university's registration in June to allow work with select agent pathogens through June 2017."

University officials did not respond to email requests for comment.

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest seeks an order compelling the CDC to release the requested documents.

The group is represented by R. Brian Black, who is also its CEO and executive director, who did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest is located in Honolulu and is "dedicated to advancing the public's rights by investigating questionable government activity, advocating for corrective action, and, if needed, enforcing corrective measures in the courts," according to its website.

---30---

CB: CDC Secrecy Over UH Biolab Safety Failures Challenged In Court

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT