Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1993 13:14:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: HEPSSC@SSCVX1.ssc.gov
To: subscriber@ssc.gov
Subject: Last? HEPSSC mailing
X-Lines: 730
You will find below several pieces detailing the demise of the SSC. Many of these have been circulated in the US, but not abroad, so this may be of benefit mostly to our friends abroad ---although even those of you in the US may have missed some of them and may want to read them.

Enclosures:

1. Personal briefing of situation at the lab
2. URA Interim Bulletin:  October 26, 1993
3. URA Interim Bulletin:  October 21, 1993
4. URA Interim Bulletin:  October 19, 1993
5. Statement by Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary
6. Statement of Sen. Bennett Johnston
7. Article from New York Times, Friday October 22, 1993; Page A11
8.  SSC Bill Language As Adopted (as of OCt-23)
9. Language of first Conference Report (for comparison)
10. FYI's and What's News (from AIP and APS) of relevance
Let me brief you of the situation at the lab, as I see it. As you may have guessed, the mood is somber. We have stopped greeting each other "How are you!" wary of actually getting a response.

The personnel department has reemerged as an outplacement department. They claim their phones have been ringing non-stop since it became clear the lab would close, with firms from around the nation looking for employees. Apparently the lab has earned a reputation in the bussiness world for having an exceedingly well trained, sofisticated and capable work force. Many workers at the lab have expressed a feeling of relief, that they won't have to put up with the yearly emotional rollercoaster any more.

Physicists are in an entirely different boat. Putting aside the loss of physics, our job situation is bad. As you well know, by and large these jobs follow an academic calendar. The local DOE office seems determined to close shop by X-mas (happy holidays!). (That is, we may get 60 days termination notices next week). While there is no final word on this, we have all learned that around here the worst possibility seems to always happen. Few physicists have enough savings to survive for 2/3 of a year until the beginning of a new academic year ---and that assuming they can land a job! Worse, many have relocated to the area around the SSC, where it will be next to impossible to get any money for their homes.

I am afraid this is my last mailing from HEPSSC.

Best wishes,

Benjamin Grinstein %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 2. >From "FNALV::CANDER"@SSCVX1.ssc.gov Tue Oct 26 16:53:51 1993

Interim Bulletin: October 26, 1993

This afternoon, the House passed the revised Energy and Water Conference Report by a vote of 332-81. It now proceeds to the Senate, where quick passage is possible before going to the President for signature and enactment.

There were two periods of debate during today's action on Energy and Water. The first was on the report as a whole, but dealt almost exclusively with the SSC. Much of the time was taken up by Sherwood Boehlert's (R-NY) protestations that he had not only not harmed science (many scientists had applauded him, he said), but that there was no reason for the next generations of students to leave high energy physics -- that it would be alive and well and all the complaints of recent days were misplaced. Boehlert also hammered home on several of the concessions he had extracted from the conferees. On the other side, Texas Reps. Martin Frost and Joe Barton reminded colleagues of the devastation of stopping the project, and of the brilliant and productive work done by all participants. Other speakers debated termination costs -- whether the report's $640 million was too much, not enough, or an unknowable percentage of the final total that would be necessary.

The process on amendments to conference reports, if followed the traditional way, is for the conference chairman (in this case Tom Bevill, D-Ala.) to propose to the House the conference's changes for approval, one by one, with rare additional changes. [Long-time SSC-watchers may recall that it was during this process in September of last year that George Brown (D-Calif.) ratcheted up his revolution against the prerogatives of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee.] Bevill had earlier today secured approval for a rule requiring adherence to the no-more-changes procedure -- drawing complaints from Republicans against the tyranny of the majority party. Thus, when the conference's language on the SSC was proposed (Amendment #33), the only choice available was to vote for or against the conference's decision -- making the vote nearly irrelevant for determining an individual's support or opposition vis-a-vis the SSC.

For example, one Indiana Member (a perennial fiscal watchdog) railed against the inclusion of a brand-new high- energy-physics project, a B-Factory he knew nothing about, he said; his opposition was so strong, he said, that he would vote against Amendment #33 in protest against General Science in general. Members protested other initiatives in the report as well, including the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor and increases above inflation for the Corps of Engineers. Again, reasons for voting for or against the amendment were so mixed that the 227- 190 result is not an indicator on any single issue; the SSC was not mentioned here nearly so much as on the previous vote. The generalized cut-the-budget fervor remained the tone of the day.

Fermilab did receive favorable notice in a general reference to long-time projects in the report, as did commitments to renewable and alternative energy sources.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 3. From: FNALV::CANDER "CATHERINE ANDERSON AT URA (202-293-1382)" 21-OCT-1993 18:53:54.80

Interim Bulletin: October 21, 1993

This afternoon's House-Senate Conference on Energy and Water Appropriations verged on the melodramatic, as the SSC's most ardent supporters and most vehement critics negotiated the termination of the program. Bottom line: the conference report includes $640 million, to be available until expended, for the orderly termination of the SSC.

Rarely are non-conference members in the room during such conferences, and virtually never do they speak -- and perhaps it is unprecedented that they participate in negotiations. Today was different. In addition to House and Senate conferees, the room contained several of the Texas delegation, seated along the wall; each was given an opportunity to speak of his/her personal disappointment over the cancellation of the Collider, including profound worries about personnel, the need to capture the scientific and technical benefits already produced by the teams at the lab, and their appreciation to conferees for the opportunity to speak. Effective and moving statements were made by Reps. Joe Barton, Martin Frost, and Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Rep. Jim Chapman of Texas, as a member of the conference, also spoke powerfully about the SSC.

Much more out of the ordinary was the presence of the SSC's arch foes: Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Jim Slattery (D- Kan.). They were seated in a spectator section, accompanied by staff, and were invited on several occasions to participate in the discussion of privileges and obligations for all parties to the termination process. At several points during these discussions it was clear that the momentum behind their recent anti-SSC votes was so strong that no conference agreement that did not meet with their approval was going to be allowed to pass the House. It was also clear that House Energy and Water Subcommittee Chairman Tom Bevill (D-Ala.) was in the position of having to support the House's anti-SSC stance, against his own wishes.

The most poignant and powerful dimension of the afternoon, however, was Senator Bennett Johnston's impassioned defense of the SSCL staff. As House Members attempted to chip away at some of the helpful personnel-related provisions Johnston was proposing, Johnston frequently raised his voice -- at one point saying "Do you know what we have DONE to these people?" He described with great eloquence the talent that had been assembled, and the critical importance of preserving as much as possible of the investment that had been made. He referred several times to the importance of the SSC in world high energy physics and the task of planning for new directions. Johnston had opened the proceedings by saying the SSC could not be revived, and he had no intention of trying to do that -- but that he was determined to minimize the nation's losses and maximize the usefulness of what had been developed at the Laboratory.

There was also some excitement associated with Johnston's plan to require a new round of DOE reports on the department's plans for financing several other large new projects, potentially halting construction for 90 days pending review. He had said earlier that if the U.S. can get this far along, and do this well, on a project as worthy and important as the SSC, and then stop it cold, he was not eager to commit funds to other large long-term projects -- especially without knowing exactly how the administration proposed to finance them. His initial proposal listed many of these new projects individually, sending shock waves through conferees who feared that such a series of reports and delays might pose a threat to the completion of projects in their districts. After protracted, heated debate, Johnston finally agreed to ask for the reports in a generic way.

Also discussed were the frameworks for new interactions between DOE and Texas, the desirability of using URA's accumulated expertise during the termination proceedings, and the continuation of Environment, Safety & Health requirements throughout the termination process.

With regard to the actual language of the report, in view of the extreme seriousness and controversy with which most nuances were debated, it might be preferable to postpone transmission of the text until the written interpretive statement of the conferees is available -- possibly Friday (10/22). House action on the conference report is currently expected on Tuesday 10/26. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 4. From: FNALV::CANDER "CATHERINE ANDERSON AT URA (202-293-1382)" 19-OCT-1993 15:12:28.50

Interim Bulletin: October 19, 1993

In what several observers described as a painful but potentially temporary setback for the SSC, the House voted this afternoon in favor of a Slattery amendment which reinforced the House's earlier vote against the SSC. Slattery's amendment won on a vote of 282-143.

The amendment was part of a complicated parliamentary procedure associated with the FY 1994 Energy and Water Development Appropriations conference report (which had provided $640 million for the SSC). Initially, John Myers (R-Ind.), a supporter of the SSC and ranking minority member of the Energy and Water Subcommittee, had attempted to deflect an assault by Reps. Jim Slattery (D-Kan.) and Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) by offering a generalized motion on the conference report. Myers' attempt failed, however, by a vote of 159-264. Immediately after that vote, Slattery introduced his motion: to send the report back to the conference committee with instructions to kill the SSC. His point was that the House had voted 280-150 (officially 280-141) against the project last June, and should uphold that position. His amendment passed by a vote of 282-143.

Thus, the report was sent back to the Energy and Water conference committee, which must reconvene to craft another compromise version of the bill. There is no way, at this moment, to answer the following questions with any real certainty: (1) Would a reduction in FY94 SSC funds be meaningful enough to convince a sufficient number of House members that their concerns had been met and that they could vote for a final E&W report with the SSC still in it, or will nothing but "termination costs" be allowed? (2) Will the conference follow through on its members' earlier-stated intention to slash other programs if the SSC is cut? (3) If these other cuts are anticipated to be severe, will additional House members change their understanding of the larger context and decide to support the report with SSC funds included? (4) Will there be answers to these questions before the expiration of the current continuing-resolution (CR) (October 21), or will additional short-term CRs be required? (5) Will negotiations/deadlocks continue past the CRs and put parts of the government on emergency operation? (6) Will these CRs affect the outcome of decisions on the SSC? (7) How hard will the pro-SSC Senate fight to maintain its own position in this debate?

In short, the conference process is quite alive, malleable, mutable. There could be other opportunities in the process, very soon, for further/other decisions on the SSC. The patience of readers in tolerating this level of uncertainty is deeply appreciated. Updates will be provided ASAP. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 5. The following is a statement by Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O'Leary on the Superconducting Super Collider(SSC):

The decision by the Congress to terminate this project is a devastating blow to basic research and to the technological and economic benefits that always flow from that research. The SSC was expected to be the flagship for the world's high energy physics program, but Congress has now decided that the SSC will not be completed. The House made this decision based on the need to reduce the federal deficit, yet the outcome will be the loss of an important, long-term investment for the Nation in fundamental science.

I deeply regret the House decision, but we see no prospect of reversing it. Accordingly, we have begun the process of an orderly termination of this project. The department will work with the state of Texas as it moves to terminate the project. Over the next months we will study the feasibility of other uses for the assets of the project. The department will also work with the scientific community as we search for ways to ensure the continued progress of research in high energy physics in the absence of the SSC.

Throughout the project's history, the state of Texas has been an excellent, patient partner. To the employees at the SSC site, to the scientists around the Nation and the world who have supported this project, and to the people of Texas, I extend my profound appreciation for your dedication, effort and vision. The department will work closely with the employees and other interested parties to mitigate the impacts of the termination and to assist with transition activities.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 6.

Statement of Sen. Bennett Johnston On the House vote regarding the SSC

Today is a sad day for science. The demise of the SSC undoubtedly will mean the demise of other good science projects. How can this country begin another big science projects if this successful project is terminated 10 years and $2 billion after its inception?

The House was wrong, but they have a right to be wrong. Their message on deficit reduction and the SSC was clear and unmistakable. The conference must find ways to accommodate this message.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 7. >From thomas@nmhepb.unm.edu Fri Oct 22 23:42:13 1993

New York Times, Friday October 22, 1993; Page A11.

CONFEREES, AFTER FINAL WRANGLE, OFFICIALLY KILL THE SUPERCOLLIDER.

by Michael Wines.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 -- A congressional panel officially killed the $11 billion Superconducting Supercollider today, but not before a final bitter wrangle between the members of the House and Senate conference committee over how lavish to make the burial.

The House members prevailed, just as they had Tuesday, when the House voted for the third time in 16 months to delete the supercollider's budget from an annual water-projects bill.

The government has already spent $2 billion to complete about one-fifth of the project, a 54-mile, magnet-lined tunnel beneath the Texas plains in Waxahachie, south of Dallas.

The clear loser was Senator J. Bennett Johnston, a Louisiana Democrat who had led the Senate's charge to save the project but who conceded defeat after Tuesday's vote in the house.

Mr. Johnston, who represents a state where giant magnets for the project are being assembled, met with the House members today to draft legislative language closing the vast Texas atom-smasher and dispensing with the 20 percent of the project that has already been built. At issue was whether any of the $640 million that had been allotted to help build the project should be spent for anything other than to shut it down as cheaply as possible.

The meeting was supposed to last 10 minutes, but instead it lasted for a hour and 20 minutes. At times, it brimmed with all the good will and trust of an encounter between a cobra and a mongoose.

Among other adjectives, Senator Johnston called the actions of the House "stupid" and "ridiculous." "Oh, give me a break," he complained at another point.

His democratic counterpart in the house, Tom Bevill of Alabama, was unsparing. "We're here to terminate this project," he said at one point. "Now, why don't we just terminate it?"

The house cast aside Senator Johnston's suggestion that the supercollider's 2,000 scientists and other workers be given severance packages that include at least 90 days' pay, relocation subsidies and other unnamed assistance.

But House members did call it overly generous, saying it went beyond normal benefits for Federal contractors. Instead, they voted to leave the terms of severance benefits up to the Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 8.

Apparently this is the SSC-related language that has been adopted in the conference bill. Please note especially the final paragraph. An earlier version explicitly listed the B-Factory, Main Injector, ITER, RHIC, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and the Advanced Neutron Source, but this final version does not name any particular labs or projects.

SSC BILL LANGUAGE AS ADOPTED

... and, in addition, $640,000,000 to remain available until expended to be used only to orderly terminate the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) project under terms and conditions as follows:

1. to the extent provided by guidelines of the Secretary of Energy,

full-time employees of contractors and designated subcontractors whose

employment is terminated by reason of the termination of the SSC may receive

(A) up to 90 days termination pay dating from the date of termination

notice, and (B) reasonable relocation expenses and assistance.

2. The Secretary of Energy shall prepare and submit a report with

recommendations to the President and the Congress containing:

(a) a plan to maximize the value of the investment that has been made in

the project and minimizing the loss to the United States and involved

states and persons, including recommendations as to the feasibility of

utilizing SSC assets in whole or in part in pursuit of an

international high energy physics endeavor, and

(b) The Secretary is authorized to consult with and use Universities

Research Association and/or other contractors and/or recognized

experts in preparing this report and recommendations and is

authorized to contract with such parties as may be appropriate in

carrying out such duties;

(c) The Secretary shall release any recommendations from time to time as

available but the final report shall be submitted by July 1, 1994.

3. Nothing herein or any action taken under this authority shall be

construed to change the Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretary of

Energy and the State of Texas dated November 9, 1990, regarding the project.

4. The Secretary shall also submit to the President and the Congress a

report and recommendations concerning plans for other large science projects

within the jurisdiction of the Department of Energy. This report shall

include recommendations as to whether high energy physics and other large

scale research projects and programs should continue to be pursued by the

United States and, if so, for what purposes should they be pursued and how

should they be funded and financed.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 9. From: FNALV::CANDER "CATHERINE ANDERSON AT URA (202-293-1382)" 15-OCT-1993 16:36:02.35

...from the FY94 Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Report (H.Rept. 103-292) [Note: Conference reports resolve matters in dispute between the House and Senate. Thus, items like Fermilab's Main Injector -- recommended at $25 million by both House and Senate -- are not part of the report.] Text of the General Science Section of Title III (DOE):

"Amendment No. 33: Appropriates $1,615,114,000 as proposed by the Senate instead of $1,194,114,000 as proposed by the House.

"Amendment No. 34: Deletes language proposed by the House limiting the availability of funds to construct a B-Factory.

"The conferees agree to provide $36,000,000 for the construction of the asymmetric B-meson production facility (B- Factory) as proposed by the House. Since the review and selection of the site for the project have been completed, the restrictions contained in the House bill are no longer required.

"Amendment No. 35: Deletes language proposed by the Senate restricting the availability of funds for the Superconducting Super Collider. [Ed. Note: this is the (Hank) Brown amendment, the contents of which ARE included, immediately below.]

"The conferees direct that none of the funds made available for the [SSC] construction may be spent 90 days after the beginning the fiscal year unless the Secretary delivers to the Committees on Appropriations of the House and Senate an implementation plan for the specific recommendations of the Report of the DOE Review Committee on the Baseline Validation of the [SSC] and the Secretary certifies that the management issues raised by the General Accounting Office in its report dated February 1993, number GAO/RCED-93-87, have been adequately addressed and will not reoccur.

"The Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility (LAMPF), the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), and the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) are funded as proposed by the Senate.

"Because of budget limitations, the conferees recommend a general reduction of $15,000,000.

"Language in the Act would prohibit the expenditure of funds for `food, beverages, receptions, parties, country club fees, plants or flowers pursuant to any cost-reimbursable contract'. The managers do not intend to preclude legitimate activities such as cafeteria services. It is intended to prohibit the waste of the taxpayers' money on payment of contractors' country club fees or fancy parties and receptions.

SUPERCONDUCTING SUPER COLLIDER

"The conferees agree to $640,000,000 for the [SSC] as proposed by the Senate.

"The conferees note that construction of the SSC is the highest priority in particle physics today and is a critical necessity to permit progress in the basic understanding of matter into the 21st century. Numerous scientific reviews have affirmed and reaffirmed the fact that the SSC is the next logical and meaningful step in the ages-old quest for a deeper understanding of what things are made of and how they work.

"As did the two preceding Presidents, President Clinton strongly supports this important project and has declared it a top priority of his Administration. In his letter of October 12, 1993, the President has stated:

"`The SSC represents not only the culmination of high energy physics research in the twentieth century, but also the cornerstone of continued American international scientific leadership in the century to follow. The SSC is expected to unlock fundamental secrets about the nature of matter and energy.

"`The SSC represents a vital investment in our nation's ability to maintain its preeminence in basic scientific research and to stimulate the development of new technologies in many areas critical to the health of the U.S. economy. We cannot abandon our commitment to improving our national scientific and technological performance, which will, in turn stimulate economic growth. The SSC is an investment in our future.

"`Fundamental science forms the foundation of technological progress. The SSC has the potential to strengthen the U.S. superconducting magnet industry. Materials and techniques resulting from the SSC will help to improve the performance of U.S. manufacturing and may stimulate advances in health care....'

"In her letter of October 13, 1993, the Secretary of Energy urged the continued support for the SSC and advised that the SSC will be an essential tool for carrying all of humanity to the next level of understanding about the origin of mass and the relations between mass and energy. Termination of the SSC would cause severe damage to the field of high energy physics and would signal that the United States is withdrawing from its position of clear world leadership in basic science.

"The Secretary of Energy further advised of her intention to institute a number of management reforms and has committed to comply with the Senate provisions concerning the appropriate improvements.

"The Secretary of Energy advised that she expects that the project will be completed in 2002 for less than $11,000,000,000 in as-spent dollars. The conferees intend to hold the Secretary of Energy to a commitment of less than $11,000,000,000 for the construction of the Superconducting Super Collider. If at any time the estimate for the project exceeds this figure, the Secretary should advise the Congress of actions to reduce the cost of the project or reduce its scope."

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 10.

>From whatsnew%apsedoff.BITNET@SDS.SDSC.EDU Fri Oct 22 15:01:44 1993

WHAT'S NEW (in my opinion), Friday, 22 Oct 1993 Washington, DC 1. SUPER COLLIDER DEFENDERS IN CONGRESS RUEFULLY LOWER THE FLAG. Late yesterday, a reconvened conference on the FY 94 Energy and Water Bill agreed to use the $640M allocated for the SSC to pay for its "orderly termination." It probably won't be enough; the DOE estimate for shut-down costs is $1.1B. As we reported last week (WN 10-15-93), House conferees had agreed to full funding of the SSC even though the House had voted 280-150 to kill it. But on Tuesday, the House voted by an even greater margin (282-143) to send the bill back to conference with instructions to insist on termination of the SSC. SSC opponents made it clear they would accept no compromise--and they had the votes to back it up. 2. WILL OTHER LARGE PROJECTS BE SUCKED UNDER WITH THE COLLIDER? The conference agreement calls for the Secretary of Energy to submit a report on "other large science projects" within DOE, including "whether high-energy physics and other large research projects should continue to be pursued by the United States." A cantankerous Bennett Johnston (D-LA), the chief SSC champion in the Senate, wanted the agreement to specify the "large" projects. He also wanted language holding up construction of the Advanced Neutron Source, the B-Factory and the Tokamak Physics Experiment until 90 days after the report was received by Congress, but in the final version, no other projects are mentioned by name. 3. WHAT WENT WRONG? AND WHAT SHOULD HIGH-ENERGY PHYSICS DO NOW? Emphasizing that the important thing is the science, high-energy physicists are calling for American participation in a genuinely international collider effort. In an interview yesterday, George Brown (D-CA), chair of the House Science Committee and a staunch supporter of the SSC, spoke about the "globalization of science." The SSC, he said, fell victim to a confluence of circumstances; a highly visible project that was not understood by most voters, it was a safe way for members of Congress to look tough on spending. In this environment, according to Brown, no big science project could survive the annual bashing. He pointed out that a majority of today's House members were not yet in office when the SSC was first debated and approved. Ironically, a factor in the demise of the SSC was the growing resentment in the House to the tyranny of appropriations committees--and George Brown has emerged as the leader in efforts to curb appropriators (WN 10-1-93; 10-8-93). 4. HOUSE ALSO REFUSES TO GO ALONG ON ADVANCED SOLID ROCKET MOTOR! When the House finished with the SSC, it took up the HUD/VA/IA Appropriations--and did the same thing to ASRM. The Senate sought to restore funding to ASRM after the House voted to kill it (WN 9-24-93). The conference agreed to $157M, but by an awesome 401- 30, the House allowed $100M for termination of ASRM only; of the remaining $57M, the National Aerospace Plane gets $20M, NSF $22M, and EPA $15M. It was, in fact, Louis Stokes (D-OH) himself, chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee, who introduced the amendment. Robert L. Park opa@aps.org The American Physical Society

From: SMTP%"bgrin@hbar" 25-OCT-1993 11:55:40.71 To: HEPSSC CC: Subj: FYI on the death of the SSC

Date: Mon, 25 Oct 93 11:54:52 CDT From: bgrin@hbar (Benjamin Grinstein) Message-Id: <9310251654.AA26301@hbar.ssc.gov> To: hepssc@sscvx1.ssc.gov Subject: FYI on the death of the SSC

----- Begin Included Message -----

>From kevin@cahill.unm.edu Sun Oct 24 00:07:30 1993 Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1993 23:06:40 -0600 From: Kevin Eric Cahill <kevin@cahill.unm.edu> To: pandas@cahill.unm.edu Subject: FYI on the death of the SSC Content-Length: 3374

>From daemon@aip.org Sat Oct 23 00:36:20 1993

It's Over: Conference Committee Votes to Terminate the SSC

FYI No. 141, October 22, 1993

"The SSC as we know it is dead. It cannot be revived." - Senator J. Bennett Johnston

In a decision which has surprised many in Washington, a House-Senate conference committee has terminated the Superconducting Super Collider. This action seals the fate of the collider: there is no possibility that the SSC will survive this latest, and final, decision.

The SSC was terminated yesterday afternoon in a two-hour meeting in the Capitol Building. Pre-conference corridor speculation and rumor was that SSC supporters, chief among them Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana), chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee overseeing DOE's budget, was still searching during the hours leading up to the conference for some solution to the impasse between the House and Senate. A sign of his willingness to deal with SSC opponents was obvious when Rep. Jim Slattery (D-Kansas) and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-New York), leaders of the House SSC opposition, strode into the meeting room. The negotiations were of no avail: at the meeting's conclusion Slattery said, "The super collider is dead -- and everyone understands that."

Reacting to the decision, Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary said, "the decision by Congress to terminate this project is a devastating blow to basic research and to the technological and economic benefits that always flow from that research." She announced, in accordance with forthcoming conference committee report language, that DOE will work with the State of Texas and other parties to wind down work on the collider. As part of yesterday's conference agreement, the $640 million which would have been used for new collider construction this year will be used instead to close down the project. Full-time employees will receive up to 90 days of termination pay. An analysis will be done to determine how to make best use the scientific equipment at the site. An environmental study will be performed to assess what actions should be taken. Contrary to some reports, the disposition of the almost 15 miles of tunnel at the site has not been made.

In her prepared statement, O'Leary said DOE "will also work with the scientific community as we search for ways to ensure the continued progress of research in high energy physics in the absence of the SSC." This will involve HEPAP, and is likely to lead to discussions on a number of levels with CERN. Johnston stated that "we should attempt to minimize the loss and maximize the use of this great facility."

It is expected that this decision will impact approximately 15,000 jobs nationwide. Concluding her statement, O'Leary said, "To the employees at the SSC site, to the scientists around the Nation and the world who have supported this project, and to the people of Texas, I extend my profound appreciation for your dedication, effort and vision."

The House and Senate will conclude their consideration of H.R. 2445 with floor votes next week. Future FYIs will provide additional information.

############### Public Information Division American Institute of Physics Contact: Richard M. Jones (202) 332-9661 ###############

----- End Included Message -----

>From daemon@aip.org Thu Oct 21 04:24:22 1993

Back to the Precipice: SSC Funding Rejected by the House

FYI No. 140, October 20, 1993

In what has become a major test of wills, the House of Representatives by a vote of nearly 2 to 1 has rejected the conference bill containing $640 million in funding for the Superconducting Super Collider. Although this is by no means the final chapter, the SSC is in trouble.

This most recent action occurred yesterday afternoon when the House of Representatives took up the conference report on H.R. 2445, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. Through a series of complex parliamentary procedures, SSC opponents were successful in forcing a vote on the collider. The Ranking Republican on the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, John Myers (R-Indiana), a SSC supporter, tried to head-off a direct vote on the collider by asking for a vote to end debate and the possibility of amendments. His motion, which would have sent the conference report back for further unspecified work, was rejected by a vote of 159-264.

This opened the door for SSC opponent Jim Slattery (D-Kansas) to offer his own motion. Slattery also wanted to send the report back to the conference committee, but his motion included instructions to House conferees to terminate the SSC. The House adopted his motion by a vote of 282-143. This vote closely parallelled last June's vote to terminate the SSC, which was 280-141. SSC opponents obviously had done their homework, and were ready and waiting.

So where does this leave the SSC? With only about one day left in DOE's stop gap funding, SSC proponents and opponents are no doubt working on new report language. If opponents were unsuccessful in being welcomed into the process earlier this month, they have now forced their way, even if informally, into the negotiations. A now more conciliatory Senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-Louisiana) admitted as much when he said yesterday, "Today is a sad day for science. The House was wrong, but they have a right to be wrong. Their message on deficit reduction and the SSC was clear and unmistakable. The conference must find ways to accommodate this message."

There is speculation that a way might yet be found to secure some level of SSC funding. While it is clear that SSC supporters underestimated their opposition, there is the distinct possibility that SSC opponents could make the same mistake. Johnston is one of the best tacticians in the Senate, and it is probably too early to count him, or the SSC, completely out. Nevertheless, if this was a boxing match, it would be safe to say that the SSC has sustained a body blow, and the referee has probably reached a count of around "7" or "8." What will occur next is anyone's guess; there is much rumor today in Washington and very little hard fact. Yet to be seen is if SSC opponents will accept any level of collider funding, as well as the degree of Senate resolve to fund the project. Also unknown: the amount of pressure which the White House, already busy with NAFTA and health care, is applying on Congress to secure SSC funding. The conference committee is due to meet tomorrow.

############### Public Information Division American Institute of Physics Contact: Richard M. Jones (202) 332-9661 ###############

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