Barrow Asks House Appropriations Committee to Consider Renewed Funding for the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
During today's debate on the 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, 12th District Georgia Congressman John Barrow (D-Savannah) urged fellow Representative Peter Visclosky, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, to work with his colleagues on the committee to restore funding for the Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL).
"For those who support nuclear energy, it's essential that there's adequate oversight and independent research to make sure that nuclear technology is safe and sustainable," Barrow said to Congressman Visclosky. "$4 million dollars per year is a small price to pay to make sure that the ongoing work at the Savannah River Site - and nuclear energy production in general - is being done in a manner that promotes public safety and protects our land, our air, and our waterways."
Congressman Visclosky responded by thanking Barrow "for bringing the work of this lab to the attention of the House," and offered to work with Barrow and the committee on the funding concern.
Congressman Barrow was one of the first in Congress to sound the alarm over the Department of Energy's decision to zero out funding for SREL. In a March 28th letter to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Barrow urged the Secretary to work with Congress to "develop and project an expanded, adequate, and stable DOE budget that would support its vital mission, instead of the current plan to eliminate federal support."
In that letter, Barrow stressed that the "laboratory supports cleanup missions as well as providing critical information related to the long-term stewardship issues at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site and the surrounding watershed."
Recently, Barrow's efforts to save the laboratory were echoed by all four U.S. Senators from Georgia and South Carolina in a May 24th letter they sent to Secretary Bodman. In addition, the House Committee on Science and Technology plans a hearing on the Department of Energy's decision to eliminate funding for laboratory.