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September 27, 1999

Lisa Cutler (202) 586-5806

Richardson: Conference Report Will Harm National
Security, Basic Research

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson today released the following statement regarding the FY 2000 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Conference Report.

"The conference report makes a number of severe cuts that will harm national security and basic scientific research programs."

"We have been working diligently to improve protection of our nation's nuclear secrets and national laboratories, and have developed a comprehensive strategy for safeguards and security reforms to implement across the Department of Energy (DOE) complex. This program would replace outmoded systems at all DOE sites with state-of-the-art cyber-security, intelligence, counterintelligence, and security operations."

"In the final legislation, Congress withheld important tools needed to implement security reform. By denying $35 million in funds for cyber-security upgrades, it will be impossible to provide real-time cyber intrusion detection and protection for all 70 DOE sites. Nor did Congress provide sufficient funds for DOE to enforce the foreign visits and assignments program to prevent unauthorized release of sensitive information; to properly secure plutonium and other weapons grade material at DOE sites; or to provide centralized management and accountability for security."

"The Conference Committee failed also to invest in several basic research and critical scientific projects. Particularly short-sighted are the cuts made to the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), a facility designed to support research in the broad areas of physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences. Without this funding, SNS will most certainly fail to meet its current implementation schedule, delaying the availability of this important research facility to American universities and industries, while increasing its final costs."

"Without funds for the Scientific Simulation Initiative, to engage the next generation of supercomputers in work to support Department missions in human and microbial genomics, combustion, climate change, and materials science, we will lack the means necessary to make scientific breakthroughs over the next decade."

"Finally, I am dismayed that the Conference Committee did not provide the full budget request made to Congress for Paducah, Portsmouth and Oak Ridge, leaving us short of our commitment to worker health and safety at the gaseous diffusion plants."

"In all, this conference report barely meets the country's national security needs and undercuts our international leadership in science."

- DOE -


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