Friday, 22 Oct 1993 Washington, DC
1. SUPER COLLIDER DEFENDERS IN CONGRESS RUEFULLY LOWER THE FLAG.
Late yesterday, a reconvened conference on the FY 94 Energy and
Water Bill agreed to use the $640M allocated for the SSC to pay
for its "orderly termination." It probably won't be enough; the
DOE estimate for shut-down costs is $1.1B. As we reported last
(WN 10-15-93), House conferees
had agreed to full funding of
the SSC even though the House had voted 280-150 to kill it. But
on Tuesday, the House voted by an even greater margin (282-143)
to send the bill back to conference with instructions to insist
on termination of the SSC. SSC opponents made it clear they
would accept no compromise--and they had the votes to back it up.
2. WILL OTHER LARGE PROJECTS BE SUCKED UNDER WITH THE COLLIDER?
The conference agreement calls for the Secretary of Energy to
submit a report on "other large science projects" within DOE,
including "whether high-energy physics and other large research
projects should continue to be pursued by the United States." A
cantankerous Bennett Johnston (D-LA), the chief SSC champion in
the Senate, wanted the agreement to specify the "large" projects.
He also wanted language holding up construction of the Advanced
Neutron Source, the B-Factory and the Tokamak Physics Experiment
until 90 days after the report was received by Congress, but in
the final version, no other projects are mentioned by name.
3. WHAT WENT WRONG? AND WHAT SHOULD HIGH-ENERGY PHYSICS DO NOW?
Emphasizing that the important thing is the science, high-energy
physicists are calling for American participation in a genuinely
international collider effort. In an interview yesterday, George
Brown (D-CA), chair of the House Science Committee and a staunch
supporter of the SSC, spoke about the "globalization of science."
The SSC, he said, fell victim to a confluence of circumstances; a
highly visible project that was not understood by most voters, it
was a safe way for members of Congress to look tough on spending.
In this environment, according to Brown, no big science project
could survive the annual bashing. He pointed out that a majority
of today's House members were not yet in office when the SSC was
first debated and approved. Ironically, a factor in the demise of
the SSC was the growing resentment in the House to the tyranny of
appropriations committees--and George Brown has emerged as the
leader in efforts to curb appropriators
(WN 10-1-93; 10-8-93).
4. HOUSE ALSO REFUSES TO GO ALONG ON ADVANCED SOLID ROCKET MOTOR!
When the House finished with the SSC, it took up the HUD/VA/IA
Appropriations--and did the same thing to ASRM. The Senate sought
to restore funding to ASRM after the House voted to kill it
9-24-93). The conference agreed to $157M, but by an awesome 401-
30, the House allowed $100M for termination of ASRM only; of the
remaining $57M, the National Aerospace Plane gets $20M, NSF $22M,
and EPA $15M. It was, in fact, Louis Stokes (D-OH) himself, chair
of the Appropriations Subcommittee, who introduced the amendment.