Miller, Lampson Express Support for the Savannah River Ecology Lab to Energy Secretary
May 16, 2007
Secretary Samual Bodman
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Secretary Bodman,
It has come to the attention of the Subcommittees that the Department intends to end its support for the work of the Savannah River Ecology Lab at the end of May, 2007. We are concerned about the implications this move will have on the research done by this institution.
Savannah River Ecology Lab has a half-century of accomplishment and has long enjoyed the support of the Department. The lab plays an indispensable role in tracking the environmental conditions around the Savannah River sit6e and providing unbiased information to the public and the government about conditions there. One benefit of this long-term research has been the steady accumulation of detailed field records that can inform our understanding of issues beyond the immediate impact of the Savannah River site, including insights into the possible consequences of climate change on the complex ecology of the region.
We are unsure why and how the decision was made to terminate the Department’s support for this facility. It is particularly difficult to understand in light of the Department beginning the on-site treatment and processing of 33.8 million gallons of salt-waste. The work of SREL would provide important insights for the local community and state and Federal officials into the environmental consequences of the processing of that salt-waste, a legacy of plutonium production at the Savannah River site, as well as storage of the resulting cementitious waste.