June 27, 2008



Tawanda W. Johnson
Press Secretary
American Physical Society

Senate Approves House version of FY ’08 Supplemental Bill 

APS: Science Funding in FY ’08 Supplemental Is Bittersweet

US Capitol viewed through treesWASHINGTON, D.C..—The American Physical Society (APS) expresses its appreciation for the Senate’s approval on Thursday of the FY ’08 supplemental bill, which includes $62.5 million each for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation to enhance science education and to halt the layoffs of scientists engaged in critical research necessary for our nation’s security and economic well-being.  But the APS expresses great concern that the appropriated funds do not allow the Department of Energy to address several critical needs which, if left unresolved much longer, will place our nation’s innovation and competitiveness at great risk.

ITER Not Funded, Damaging America’s International Reputation
The bill fails to provide the $160 million needed to pay the U.S. portion of ITER, the international showcase of fusion energy research.  The lack of ITER funding will damage America’s credibility as a reliable scientific partner overseas and could require the U.S. to pay a penalty of $800 million if we abrogate the agreement.

National Research Facilities Forced to Curtail Operations
The supplemental also fails to provide enough money needed to keep user facilities open for critical research conducted by university and industry scientists. Staffing cutbacks and reductions in operation time at these facilities threaten to push many of their activities overseas.

Energy Research Placed on Back Burner as Public Clamors for Relief
The Department of Energy’s allocation also fails to fund crucial energy research proposals in the Basic Energy Sciences program at a time when Americans are paying more than $4 per gallon at the gas pump. 

Michael Lubell, APS director of public affairs and professor of physics at City College of  New York, noted that Congress is unlikely to consider appropriations for FY 2009 until the end of next February, almost halfway through the coming fiscal year.  “By then the damage may be irreparable,” Lubell said.  “Neither American scientists nor U.S. high-tech industries will wait for possible congressional action nine months from now.  The smart ones will look abroad.”


About APS

The American Physical Society (www.aps.org) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 51,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

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