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Letters To the Committee :: May 23, 2007

Department of Energy Officials Respond to Chairmen's Request Regarding SREL

The Honorable Brad Miller
Chairman, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight
Committee on Science & Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Your letter of May 16, 2007 requested advice from the Department of Energy (Department or DOE) by May 23, 2007, of the Department’s funding plans for the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL or Laboratory), a facility at the Savannah River Site that has been made available for many years by the Department to the University of Georgia to conduct various forms of ecological research. Contrary to the suggestion in your letter, the Department has not determined that SREL will receive no funding from DOE.

What DOE did decide, in consequence of a review done in the course of the fiscal year 2006 budget process that concluded that basic science missions did not warrant continued funding of the University of Georgia for the Laboratory, was to create a relationship whereby the Laboratory could continue to operate despite that budget decision. To that end, DOE agreed to fund scientific work at SREL to support the Savannah River Site mission for $5 million in fiscal year 2006 and $1 million in fiscal year 2007, with the option to fund additional meritorious work on a task-by-task basis. As part of that agreement, the Laboratory leadership assured DOE that SREL would become self-sustaining by seeking specific research assignments from the entire DOE complex, not just the Office of Science or the Office of Environmental Management (EM), and by actively responding to solicitations from other Federal entities. In addition, the Laboratory could conduct research for others, such as state and private entities, funded through other mechanisms…

Read complete letter from the DOE Assistant Secretary of Environmental Management»

An identical letter was sent to Chairman Lampson, Energy & Environment Subcommittee.

May 23, 2007

The Honorable Nick Lampson
Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment
Committee on Science & Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman,

This is in response to your May 16, 2007 letter to Secretary Bodman that, among other things, sought “all records” that were “generated or received” by the Department since August 1, 2006 regarding the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Your letter also requested a briefing on this subject for the staff of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and the staff of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. The letter asked that the briefing be conducted by May 25, 2007, and the requested records be produced by May 30, 2007. Your letter also sought advice from the Department, by May 23, 2007, regarding its current funding of the Laboratory.

The advice by the Department about funding matters is being provided to the Subcommittees today under separate cover. The Department is working to provide the requested briefing by the date specified in your letter, May 25, 2007. Because many of the Departmental officials sufficiently informed about this matter to conduct the requested briefing also are necessary participants in the Department’s task of identifying and collecting all the requested records, however, it is unlikely that all such records can be provided by May 30, 2007. The Department will, nonetheless, respond to the Subcommittees’ request for records as soon as possible…

Read the complete letter from the DOE General Counsel»

An identical letter was sent to Chairman Miller, Investigations & Oversight Subcommittee.

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