Friday, 23 Dec 94 Washington, DC
1. CLINTON PLAN WOULD SLASH DOE TO PAY FOR MIDDLE-CLASS TAX CUT!
The President rejected proposals to eliminate the Department of
Energy, but its budget would be cut by $10.6B over five years to
help offset a $60B tax reduction. There were few specifics in
the plan; the biggest chunk, $4.4B would come from nuclear waste
cleanup at weapons facilities, $1.6B is supposed to come from
selling the Naval Petroleum Reserve, $3B from "streamlining" the
department ("streamlining" is a euphemism for firing staff), and
$1.2B from "applied research programs." Details will have to
wait; the Yergin task Force (WN 14 Oct 94)
on applied energy R&D
is not expected to make a report until June. There is also likely
to be a lab closing, but no announcement will be made before the
Galvin Committee on the future of the labs
(WN 22 Apr 94) makes
its report on 1 Feb; speculation centers on Lawrence Livermore.
In the "How not to stop the rumors" category, DOE issued a one
line news release last week: "The Department of Energy has not
proposed that the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory be closed."
There had been no hint in public that it was being considered.
2. EUROPE DECIDES TO BUILD THE LHC -- WITH OR WITHOUT U.S. HELP!
The CERN Council plans to build the Large Hadron Collider in two
stages: a 10 TeV collider to study CP violation and look for top
quarks by 2004, followed by an upgrade to a center-of-mass energy
of 14 TeV by 2008, sufficient, it is hoped, to unravel the origin
of mass. If sufficient commitments by non-member states (i.e. US
and Japan) are forthcoming by 1997, stage 1 could be skipped.
3. WALKER NAMES "ACTIVISTS" TO CHAIRS OF SCIENCE SUBCOMMITTEES!
Robert Walker (PA), chair of the renamed House Science Committee
(WN 16 Dec 94),
appointed the four subcommittee chairs this week:
James Sensenbrenner (WI) will chair Space and Aeronautics; Dana
Rohrabacher (CA) takes over Energy and Environment; Constance
Morella (MD) will chair Technology; and Steve Schiff (NM) will
head the critical Basic Research Subcommittee. It was Schiff who
asked GAO to look into the 1947 "Roswell Incident"
(WN 9 Sep 94).
4. LAID-OFF SCIENTISTS WILL BE RETRAINED TO TEACH IN INNER CITY!
The experimental National Research Council program is funded by
the Department of Defense. Los Angeles was selected because it's
short on science teachers and long on laid-off scientists. The
first 20 "teaching fellows," who will start training this summer
at Cal State Long Beach and begin working as teachers in the fall
of '96, will be assigned to inner-city secondary schools in LA.
5. FEELING ANXIOUS? MAYBE IT'S TIME TO VISIT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.
The APS Washington Office is sponsoring Congressional Visits '95
during the APS April Meeting in Washington (18-21 Apr 95). If
you are interested in spending a half-hour discussing science
issues with your representative or senator write firstname.lastname@example.org.