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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich urges President Bush to restore funding to Fermilab, Argonne National Laboratory
Hundreds of jobs in jeopardy under Bush budget cuts

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today sent a letter to the president asking him to reverse his decision to cut funding from Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, two of the most important research centers in the nation, located in Illinois.  The cuts, which the Governor pointed out, could limit opportunities for future scientific research and development in the United States, are the result of an omnibus bill signed by the president that included a dramatically reduced budget for the Department of Energy.
 
“Yesterday, as you visited Chicago, you toured Greeley Elementary School and saw first hand the success we’ve had in promoting math and science based education.  Ironically, because of major funding reductions to some of the nation's leading research facilities within the Department of Energy’s budget, the students you saw today may have a hard time starting a technical or scientific career in Illinois,” the Governor wrote. 
 
“The omnibus spending bill you recently signed could cause dramatic funding cuts at Argonne National Laboratory, one of the nation’s largest and most important research centers.  In addition to these cuts, the bill includes significant cuts to Illinois’ other federal research facility, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory,” said Gov. Blagojevich in his letter.  “Without adequate federal funding, hundreds of people will lose their jobs while the United States will risk falling behind in science and technology leadership.” 
 
Prior to the start of the holidays, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill that dramatically reduced the amount of funding appropriated to the Department of Energy.  As a result, Argonne announced it will shut down the Intense Pulse Neutron Source (IPNS).  At the IPNS, scientists work to determine the composition of plastics and other soft materials.  It is one of the most productive facilities of its kind in the world.
 
Argonne is also home to the Advanced Photon Source (APS), the nation’s brightest x-ray.  The APS is used by many scientists, including those conducting research for chemical and pharmaceutical firms.  Although the APS will not be shut down, operating schedules will be limited.  The full extent of Argonne’s layoffs will not be immediately known.
 
Fermilab has already announced that 10 percent of employees could be laid off due to the cuts that will severely limit operations, halting work on a number of innovative projects.  Officials are doing what they can to avert the layoffs, but the lack of federal funding will severely limit the facility’s contributions to the science industry.
 
Last August, President Bush signed the America Competes Act, which increased funding going toward research in order to ensure that the United States remains a global leader in scientific research.  Even though the amount of funding was eventually reduced, it was still higher than the amount designated for this year.  Gov. Blagojevich is asking the president to fully fund both laboratories for the rest of this fiscal year in addition to FY 2009.   
 
The content of the Governor’s letter follows:
 
Dear President Bush,
 
Yesterday, as you visited Chicago, you toured Greeley Elementary School and saw first hand the success we’ve had in promoting math and science based education.  Ironically, because of major funding reductions to some of the nation's leading research facilities within the Department of Energy’s budget, the students you saw today may have a hard time starting a technical or scientific career in Illinois. 
 
The omnibus spending bill that you recently signed could cause dramatic funding cuts at Argonne National Laboratory, one of the nation’s largest and most important research centers.  In addition to these cuts, the bill includes significant cuts to Illinois’ other federal research facility, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.  These two institutions put Illinois and the United States at the forefront of scientific research.  Without adequate federal funding, hundreds of people will lose their jobs while the United States will risk falling behind in science and technology leadership.
 
Last August you signed the America Competes Act, which authorized significant increases in funding in America’s research potential.  This bill was passed with bipartisan support in response to concerns that the country is falling behind in scientific and technology leadership.  I urge you to make good on this commitment. 
 
Please restore full funding for Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for the remainder of this fiscal year and in your FY2009 budget proposal.   

Sincerely,
 
Rod R. Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois


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