Sep 21, 2007

Funding of NM's labs debated

By: Eyewitness News 4
Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman urged Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to continue funding Los Alamos and Sandia National Labs in full until a final budget is hammered out.

There is concern that almost $400 million in proposed cuts for the nation’s nuclear weapons labs could effect New Mexico's own labs.

Dozens of people showed up for a rally in Santa Fe Friday to protest the cuts. Others protested the lab nuclear programs.

The House wants to cut up to $350 million from the labs' operating budget, which could cost hundreds of jobs.

Many on Capitol Hill want the nation's labs to switch from nuclear weapon-making to a focus on alternative energy or high-tch industry.

Some at the “Save our Science” rally, as Friday’s event was called, said that would be a big mistake.

“Scientific research at Los Alamos and Sandia has brought world peace…and protected our planet,” LANL scientist Dr. Srinivasan Srivilliputhur said.

Protestors at the rally said they would like to see the labs stop developing nuclear technology. They would like to see the labs develop what they call “useful” technology.

“There are a lot of brilliant minds up there. And they ought to be applying themselves to helping the world,” activist Ann Murray said.

Others said they just want congress to continue funding the labs and its 12,000 employees—whatever the mission may be.

The U.S. Senate still has to vote on two energy bills which are expected on the president’s desk by October 1.

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