RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Tuesday’s news that the Granville County Board of Commissioners has pulled support for building a bioterrorism lab near Butner is bad news for the project.

The NIMBY syndrome – as in “not in my back yard” – will chill local and state efforts to win the $450 million project and the hundreds of scientific research jobs that go with it.

However, as WRAL News’ Sloane Hefferman reported, federal officials are at fault for not helping to allay people’s concerns about the project.

"Homeland Security is not talking to people, not answering their questions," local resident John Monroe told Hefferman.

Have concerns about the project? Go to our Web site, said Homeland Security.

Poor communication about what exactly the project is – and how dangerous it could be – could very well throw North Carolina’s extensive recruitment efforts into turmoil.

Elected officials have to have the latest and best information to relay to citizens who might be more accommodating to the project if their fears were addressed quickly and forthrightly.

Commissioner Hubert Gooch told Hefferman that he represented the good folks of Granville County and if they didn’t want the project – so be it.

The feds won’t react kindly to local opposition. Some sites in the running for the project earlier in the process were KO’d by local opposition. If the Department of Homeland Security determines Butner and Granville don’t want the lab, they very well could take all the jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in development elsewhere.

N.C. folks backing the project had better get their act together soon, providing information and answers. So should the feds.

If they don’t, fears about a bioterror disaster will doom this project before any ground is broken.