WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Department of Homeland Security has hired a Missouri contractor to oversee building a massive research lab that may not get funding this year.

The department announced Friday that McCarthy/Mortenson Joint Venture of St. Louis was chosen for a $3.2 million contract for pre-construction work on the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Some in Congress don't want the money spent on the lab until the government finds out more about the risks of moving foot-and-mouth disease research from an island off New York to Manhattan, Kansas. The disease could wreak havoc on the domestic livestock industry if accidentally released.

Research on diseases that could be passed from animals to humans and possible bio- and agro-terrorism threats also will be done at the lab.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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