Fermilab, DOE, elected officials celebrate science funding
At Wednesday's all-hands meeting, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey
Kupfer (left) announced that Fermilab will receive about $29.5 million in
supplemental funds. Other speakers at the event (from left): Fermilab
Director Pier Oddone, Senator Richard Durbin, Congresswoman Judy Biggert and
Congressman Bill Foster.
Fermilab employees breathed a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday at an all-hands meeting on July 2. Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer announced that Fermilab will receive about $29.5 million in supplemental funds for the current fiscal year, including $9.5 million for the NOvA neutrino experiment. Thanks to the funding, Fermilab can avoid the involuntary layoff of about 90 employees.
“We all recognize our ability to innovate and discover depends on our willingness to support the kind of fundamental research that is the mission here at Fermilab,” Kupfer said. “I commit to you that we will do whatever we can to continue to support your vital mission.”
The standing-room only meeting came just days after President George W. Bush signed a supplemental spending bill that included $62.5 million for the DOE Office of Science.
“Today we celebrate the first steps toward restoration of basic science funding in our country,” Congressman Bill Foster said at the meeting. “The door that was slammed shut in the omnibus bill last Christmas is now cracked open. We have the light to see a brighter future for basic science at Fermilab, and we have the oxygen we need to get to work on that future.”
Director Pier Oddone applauded Fermilab employees for their dedication and success despite furloughs and the threat of layoffs. He pointed out the many accelerator records the Tevatron had set during the last six months and described the benefits of basic science research at Fermilab.
“All of the above could not be possible without the support of the public and of our elected representatives,” Oddone said. "Mayors, teachers, union members, the business community, our neighbors and universities and professional societies rose together and spoke for the importance of the science and technologies that we do and for its future in the nation.”
Sen. Richard Durbin as well as Congressman Foster, Congresswoman Judy Biggert and Director Oddone expressed their appreciation of the communities that supported the laboratory in its continued success.
“The fact is that you’re here today in celebration, not only of the money coming in, but the community spirit that came forward. Here at the lab, the surrounding towns, organized labor, the business community, across the board, that kind of support made the real difference,” Durbin said.
Attendees gave standing ovations to Director Oddone, for his leadership through a difficult time, and to elected officials, for their successful efforts to restore funding.
Foster cautioned that the battle is far from over. “While this is a substantial and terrific victory, we must ensure that our scientists are able to do the work that is vital to the long-term future of our country,” Foster said.
View the streaming video of the all-hands meeting
-- Rhianna Wisniewski
Since December, Fermilab has kept a log of news stories and their headlines to chronicle the budget crisis. By beginning at the bottom of the page, in December 2007, and scrolling up, readers can view Fermilab’s roller-coaster journey.