The story continues

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

The Continuing Resolution enacted last week for the remainder of this fiscal year contains cuts that amount to approximately $38 billion compared to the FY10 budget, the current level of government spending. The cuts to the DOE Office of Science represent about 1 percent of its FY10 budget but are larger when compared to the proposed President’s budget for FY11. Nevertheless, these cuts are much smaller than the cuts proposed several months ago in the House. The relatively small cuts to the DOE Office of Science in the final bill reflect the role that the DOE Office of Science plays in the future of our country.

At this time I cannot tell you exactly what the situation will be at Fermilab for the rest of the year since we have not received the final bottom line for the year from the DOE Office of Science. We should receive the number in the next few days. I would expect that we will be able to run the Tevatron as planned and that we will have an orderly transition after the Tevatron is shut down at the end of September.

We are very appreciative of the support we have received from our neighbors, the mayors of various surrounding communities, the business and scientific communities and the many citizens who have voiced the need for science and innovation in this country. We are especially appreciative of the support we’ve received from our legislators throughout the last few months. Senator Richard Durbin has played a leadership role in the budget negotiations and has eloquently articulated the value of the national laboratories. Our Representative Randy Hultgren has visited the laboratory several times and I have met with him in DC several more times to provide information on the impact that various budget scenarios would have. He has been a strong supporter of Fermilab in his speeches and in interactions with his colleagues. We also received support from Senator Mark Kirk. (On a side note: I will be co-chairing his Energy Advisory Board with Dan Ustian, the CEO of Navistar.) Of course it has taken many more legislators both in Illinois and throughout the country to recognize the values of the Office of Science laboratories as represented in the budget compromise.

This concludes the first chapter in the debates about how to bring the federal deficit under control. It is soon to be followed by the much more serious debates on the FY12 budget. They will have to look at all aspects of both government income and outlays, and we again could be in the line of fire. Continuing the excellent performance of our laboratory in all domains will be our best defense.