Guidelines for Land Use Proposals at Fermilab

Fermilab is a U.S. Department of Energy laboratory for research on the fundamental structure of matter. Congress funds the Department of Energy to carry out a national mission of basic science research at national laboratories such as Fermilab. The state of Illinois gave the land for Fermilab to the federal government for particle physics research. Scientists from all over the country and around the world use Fermilab for scientific research.

The Department of Energy owns Fermilab, which is operated by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC, under a contract with DOE.

Fermilab Land Management

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From time to time, Fermilab receives proposals for the use of the site for purposes other than particle physics research. If a proposal for an alternate use of the site is based on a compelling community need and appears compatible with the Laboratory's science mission, Fermilab and the Department of Energy consider the proposal. Ultimately, the Department of Energy has the authority to make decisions about the use of the Fermilab site. This brochure explains the guidelines for making these land use decisions.

Department of Transportation regulations are among the considerations that may affect proposals for land use at Fermilab

In evaluating proposals for non-research-related uses of the site, Fermilab and DOE consider many factors. They include:

How would the proposed use affect Fermilab's ability to carry out the Laboratory's national science research mission?

Would the proposed use irreversibly change the character of the site? If necessary, could it be removed in a reasonable time?

How would it affect Fermilab's future? Physics research at the Laboratory has a strong and vigorous future for many years to come. Would the proposed use allow the Laboratory to build new facilities on the site to meet future national research needs? Would it allow Fermilab to remain a vital national laboratory, and, as such, one of the area's largest employers?

What effect would the proposed use have on Fermilab stakeholders: Scientists, students, Laboratory employees, the Department of Energy, Congress, the State of Illinois, educators, vendors, people who use the site for recreational and cultural purposes, and people in neighboring communities?

What are the legal issues involved? For example, would the proposed use impose additional federal, state or local laws or regulations that might affect the operation of the Laboratory? Would it expose Fermilab employees, URA, or DOE to unindemnifiable legal risks?

Would the proposed use raise issues of fair competition for others who might wish to make similar uses of the site? Would the proposed use involve costs to Fermilab or the Department of Energy?

What are the environmental effects of the proposed use? Fermilab is committed to the continuing environmental restoration and stewardship of the Laboratory site. And because the Fermilab site is federal property, many proposed uses may require environmental impact studies or other environmental analyses.

How would the proposed use affect the current non-physics uses of the site, such as environmental research, power line easements or public use of the site's restored prairie?

How would it affect the health and safety of those who use the site or live nearby? Would the proposed use create unacceptable health or safety risks?

How would the proposed use affect the residents of neighboring communities? What is the range of community views on the proposal?

What esthetic effects would the proposed use have on the site?

Fermilab and DOE believe that direct and open communication by all involved is an important element in making good decisions about proposed uses for the Fermilab Site. Fermilab and DOE provide opportunities for communication with all of those whom a proposed use would affect.

To learn more about Fermilab, land-use planning, or opportunities for public involvement, please call the Fermilab Office of Public Affairs at (630) 840-3351.