The U.S. Department of Homeland Security may postpone deciding where to site the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, thus putting it in the hands of the Obama administration.

Butner is among the five finalists for the animal disease research center. San Antonio, Texas; Manhattan, Kans.; Athens, Ga.; and Flora, Miss. are the others.

The Hattiesburg American reports that a final environmental impact statement is due within the next few weeks. However, the final decision is not expected until after Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama takes office.

Although Butner initially scored the highest on Homeland Security’s site assessments, local citizens and most elected local, state and federal officials are strongly opposed to locating the NBAF in North Carolina.