North Carolina apparently has lost out on its bid to land a $450 million federal bioresearch lab, but members of the consortium assembled to land the project aren’t giving up yet.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security had selected Kansas for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. However, an official announcement has not been made.

North Carolina offered a site near Butner in Granville County to host the lab and the hundreds of jobs that would come with it. Other sites in Georgia, Mississippi and Texas are also finalists.

A consortium of N.C. backers, including the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and N.C. State’s School of Veterinary Medicine, is not conceding defeat, however.

“Consortium members continue to believe that the project will help protect the livestock industry and public health while bringing significant economic benefits to Granville County,” a spokesperson for the consortium and the Biotech Center told “We will wait for official release of the environmental impact statement before commenting further.”

The final environmental study results were disclosed Wednesday evening.

North Carolina had offered a package of incentives built around a site near Butner. And one Homeland Security study actually gave the N.C. package the highest “score” among the finalists.

However, a number of local groups and citizens lobbied against the project. Several county and local governments also voiced opposition, citing environmentally and health concerns.

“I believe they believed us when we told them we would not have it,” biolab opponent Suzanne Moody Smith said.

“There’s a level of disappointment, but not really a level of surprise,” said Dr. Warwick Arden, dean of North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Arden has always supported the biolab. He said it would have brought jobs and money to the area.

“The loser in this is potentially Granville County,” Arden said.

“The economy in southern Granville County is fine. It probably would have helped some, but I don’t think the pluses would outweigh the minuses,” biolab opponent Bill McKellar said.

As more and more local politicians joined opponents of the proposed lab, the federal government didn’t react favorably.

"Your message has been received and the message has been that you don’t support us coming here," DHS spokesman John Verrico told WRAL News in August as opposition mounted.

Also in September, one of the best chances to secure the lab fell apart when the North Carolina Biotechnology Center rejected a grant from Golden LEAF, the foundation that distributes economic development grants from the state’s tobacco litigation settlement.

The $262,000 involved would have paid for efforts by the Biotech Center and its bio-lab allies to prepare an education campaign about the lab. The Biotech Center said Golden LEAF’s terms for the grant were unreasonable, and Golden LEAF countered by saying it needed to ensure any promotional campaign was factual.

The site in Kansas is near the city of Manhattan.

“This facility does not belong on the inland United States,” Moody Smith said.

Agency officials revealed their decision to several lawmakers late Tuesday, according to lawmakers and staff familiar with the briefings, the AP reported. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement won’t be made until later this week.

While the choice won’t become final until after a monthlong review period, officials in Mississippi and Texas – seeking a major boost to local economies – already are pondering a challenge to the decision.

"Let me just simply say that we’re looking at (a challenge) very seriously because we do think we have the best site and we’ll proceed accordingly," Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday.

In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry’s spokeswoman, Katherine Cesinger, said the state will "closely review the information and hard questions will be asked about the conclusions they’ve reached."

Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the department would have no comment until the formal announcement.

The new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility would replace an aging 24-acre research complex on Plum Island, about four miles off the eastern shore of Long Island, N.Y. Foot-and-mouth research has been confined to the island since 1955 to avoid an accidental outbreak that could lead to the slaughter of millions of livestock. The disease does not sicken humans.

Some farm groups have expressed concern about the risks of moving the lab to the U.S. mainland. The Bush administration acknowledged earlier this year that accidents have happened with the feared virus at the Plum Island facility.

But Homeland Security officials are convinced it can operate safely using the latest containment procedures. And Kansas officials are focused on the $3.5 billion economic infusion the lab could mean for the local economy.

A draft copy of Homeland Security’s "Preferred Alternative Selection Memorandum," prepared by department Undersecretary Jay Cohen and obtained by The Associated Press concludes that the site on the campus of Kansas State University was chosen based on its proximity to existing biohazard research, strong community acceptance and a generous package of incentives offered by the state.

"(T)he Steering Committee unanimously agreed that the Manhattan campus site is the preferred alternative and I concur with the Steering Committee’s recommendation," Cohen states in the draft document.

The lab is expected to generate about 1,500 construction jobs and a permanent payroll of $25 million to $30 million for more than 300 employees once the project is completed by 2015.

Kansas officials mounted one of the most aggressive efforts to win the new lab, forming a special task force to lobby Homeland Security officials after Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., promoted its economic potential.

The Kansas legislature approved $105 million in bonds to buy land, upgrade roads, install a security fence and build a utility plant at the site on the Kansas State University campus. The university already conducts similar research at its Biosecurity Research Institute, near the proposed site of the new lab.

Besides foot-and-mouth disease, researchers also would study African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever and the Hendra and Nipah viruses.