Being a good neighbor

Michael Weis

Michael Weis, DOE Fermi Site Office manager, wrote this column.

The Department of Energy, the Fermi Site Office and Fermilab continue to work together to achieve the Office of Science mission and fulfill their responsibilities to the public, laboratory employees, the scientific community and the American people. One of the critically important responsibilities for our team is being a good neighbor, which we foster through partnership and clear and concise communication.

The Fermilab team manages the land on the federal site here on behalf of DOE and works hand in hand with FSO when government approvals are necessary to maintain the land and facilities. To be a good neighbor, we routinely reach out to representatives of the surrounding communities and municipalities and to local stakeholders about the lab’s land management efforts. The lab sponsors a Community Advisory Board to solicit feedback from leaders in these groups, and FSO supports these meetings and provides informational updates periodically. FSO also works with the lab to keep the lab informed about discharges and effluents resulting from our operations and to receive feedback in our strategy to minimize environmental impacts. For example, as a team we regularly provide information on our efforts to minimize tritium byproducts as we continue to increase beam power for the lab’s Intensity Frontier experiments.

Fermilab’s land management practices help build relationships. The lab leases about 2,000 acres through a competitive process and provides land for farming. These practices in turn benefit the lab by preventing the propagation of woody vegetation, which lowers the development costs of future scientific facilities. Additionally, with federal approval, the revenue from the farming allows the lab to fund other land management initiatives such as maintenance of the prairie and the on-site bison herd.

Another example of being a good neighbor is the lab’s allowing a pipeline company to stage its equipment on DOE property, as they are performing excavation and maintenance in a residential area near the site with limited storage space in that area.

My colleagues and I continue to look forward to working with you as we build partnerships and relationships with an eye toward a long future of high-energy physics experiments here at Fermilab. You can find more information about us on the DOE Fermi Site Office website, or you can stop by our offices in Wilson Hall anytime.