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By Congressman Jim Costa

As the Representative of California’s 21st Congressional District, I am proud to represent the city of Reedley. Located southeast of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, Reedley is a rural community of about 26,000 people, known as the Fruit Basket of the World due to its prosperous agricultural industry. With a bustling and historic downtown, this is the last place you would expect to find a case like this.

In March 2023, I was made aware of the warehouse, which housed a biolab that did not appear to be in compliance with the law. Within a day of having been alerted, my staff and I mobilized officials from Fresno County, the State of California, and Federal agencies to assist Reedley in the investigation and abatement of the unregulated laboratory that contained 1,000 transgenic mice and infectious diseases, among other concerning findings. I have stayed in contact with local and federal officials—including sharing information, encouraging cross-agency collaboration, and working with the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party during its investigation.

My top priority is health and public safety. The presence of infectious diseases that were poorly stored in a populated area of town without anyone’s knowledge is of major concern. That is why the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party coordinated a bipartisan Congressional report that is succinct, thorough, and impactful while maintaining the trust of the American public. I appreciate the Select Committee’s efforts on this matter.

This report outlines troublesome gaps that exist in federal law that allow bad actors to take advantage of the system. I look forward to continuing our work to address the existing gaps that allowed an illegal biolab like this to threaten the health and safety of the people in Reedley. It is my hope no other town in any Congressional district will endure what my constituents have through this experience.

I did not come to Congress expecting to handle a situation like the one outlined in this report. But my job is to advocate for my constituents and to ensure that the federal government is working for them in partnership with their other elected officials at all levels of government.

Thank you to the local first responders and officials for your collaboration during this investigation. I look forward to continuing this important partnership to protect the health and safety of our neighbors in Reedley and nationwide.

Congressman Jim Costa