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STATEMENT OF SENATOR J. BENNETT JOHNSTON
April 24, 1990
Subcommittee on Energy Research and Development
Hearing on the Superconducting Super Collider
I congratulate Senator Ford for holding this hearing on the Superconducting
Super Collider and the Department of Energy's budget for fundamental science.
this budget, DOE funds and operates the major facilities that have made American
science the envy of the world. We need to keep things that way.
The fiscal year 1991 request of the Department's science programs shows an
increase of 13.6 percent over the appropriations for fiscal year 1990. It is very, very
important that the funding of American science be maintained even though budgets are
tight. In fact, it is important to make science funding grow at more than inflation. The
President's budget proposes substantial growth.
Proposing an increase in the budget is one thing. Finding the money in the appropriations process under today's conditions is quite another. Finding the funds to
accommodate the growth proposed for this year will be very, very difficult. We will
need all the help we can get.
As tough as finding the money needed is this year, it pales in comparison to the
difficulties we will have when construction is in full swing and the SSC needs several
hundred million dollars annually from appropriations.
Our work has not been made any easier by the news that the total cost of the
SSC may be $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion higher than the $5.9 billion estimate of last year.
The Administration has never provided Congress and the scientific community
with a plan showing where the money for this project is coming from in those years.
Indeed, in its report earlier this year to the Senate Budget Comunittee the Committee on
Energy and Natural Resources wrote:
"The Committee is concemed that expenditures claimed by the SSC will
inevitably be taken from many other worthy areas of scientific endeavor. The
Department has never provided the Committee with a clear plan for funding the
SSC in conjunction with these other important areas of fundamental research.
The prospect of substantial cost increases for the SSC only emphasizes the need
for such a plan."
DOE needs to provide us with such a plan. There is no reason not to provide it.
Congress has made the decision to build the superconducting super collider. We
are not debating whether or not to have an SSC.
What we need now is to see that the
project is carried out in a controlled manner and as efficiently as possible. Some
questions still remain. A final cost baseline must be developed that reflects site-specific
knowledge and the latest experience with accelerator technology. The issue of foreign
participation must be addressed. We should continue to review the management of the
project to see that incentives to limit costs are effective.
Tough oversight by this Committee can help build the consensus needed to
support the very substantial annual appropriations the project will soon require. DOE
must answer the questions being asked about the project with patience and
completeness. We will need the full cooperation from DOE, the scientific community,
and industrial participants to carry the project through.
The SSC will be at the center of research in high-energy physics for the whole
world for a generation. Its aim is to open the door to an understanding of the set of
laws governs everything in the universe. As T.D. Lee, the Nobel laureate in physics, has
"It will be our contribution to the civilization of the next century."
Senator FORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As usual, you bring a great deal of commonsense to most questions, and I am glad you are here.
Our first witness here this morning is a Congressman from Texas, the Honorable Joe Barton. And, Joe, if you come forward, we will be delighted to hear your testimony this morning. And it is at your discretion, either highlight it. We will put the statement in the record, or you can give the whole statement. We will leave that prerogative to you.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOE BARTON, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM
It is a pleasure to be here again this year. I certainly recollect our testimony last year before this subcommittee with myself and Senator Bentsen and Senator Gramm. I will submit my statement for the record.
Senator FORD. It will be included.
First of all, I would like to point out for the record, as you indicated, that the SSC is in my congressional district, literally in my backyard, about 3 miles from my home where the Eastern Cluster research facility will be located.
I have been working on this project for the past 5 years, since I was elected to the Congress in 1984 and sworn in in 1985. I am not going to belabor all the obvious points. You and Senator Johnston are experts in those. What I would like to do is simply bring you up-to-date on where we are right now on the project.
As we speak, in New York City Mort Myerson, the chairman of the Texas National Laboratory Research Commission, is negotiating with the bond attorneys to sell the first installment of the Texas bonds: $250 million. He is going back to Texas later this week and going before the Texas Bond Commission to get approval on the terms of that agreement. I think he is going to do that on April 26 of April 27.
The State of Texas Highway Commission is working with a private contractor from Oklahoma to prepare to go out and begin to make bids on the land that needs to be acquired. We need to acquire 17,000 acres of land for the project. That is happening right now.
As you indicated in your opening statement, the SSC permanent authorization bill will be considered on the House floor. The sponsor of that legislation, as the chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, is the Honorable Bob Roe of New Jersey. It would put a $5 billion cap on federal expenditures. It would set some parameters on international participation.
It has some safeguards, some milestones about magnet testing and certain certifications that have to be made before construction of the project can go ahead. That piece of legislation passed the authorizing committee 32 to 9. And we expect it will pass the House.
I would like to point out for you and other Senators of this subcommittee that, this authorization bill is going to the floor under an open rule, which means literally that any Member of Congress and the House of Representatives can stand up on the floor and offer an amendment to the project.
We are very confident that we can debate the merits of this project in the open, as Senator Johnston said. We think that the project makes sense on a national priority basis, a scientific research and development priority basis. And we are more than willing to debate any amendment and have an up or down roll call vote tomorrow.
And Dr. Schwitters, Dr. Decker, and Dr. Bromley who are going to testify after me are the true experts on this, and they can handle the technical details.
I would simply like to close by pointing out that as we move away from confrontation with the Soviet Union, hopefully, we are going to be in even more intense competition with our trading allies—the Japanese, the Europeans, the Asians. And the SSC is really about scientific leadership. Scientific leadership leads to economic leadership. Economic leadership leads to world leadership.
As Senator Johnston pointed out, the price of this project is high, but the price of leadership is high. And I think we should meet that price. The Federal Government spends $4,000 a second. The request for this year, the next budget year, $318 million. If you divide that up, that is about two hours worth of federal spending. And I think the price of scientific leadership is worth two hours of spending. So with that, I would be happy to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Barton follows:)
CONGRESSMAN JOE BARTON
SENATE ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE
ON ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
APRIL 24, 1990
10:00 A.M., 366 DIRKSEN
"SUPERCONDUCTING SUPER COLLIDER (SSC): A NATIONAL PROJECT"
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, good morning and thank you for
giving me the opportunity to testify before you today in favor of an
outstanding investment in our future, the Superconducting Super Collider
(SSC). As you may know, the Super Collider will allow the United States to
pursue excellent basic scientific research fundamental to the understanding of
the universe. This basic research should result in new technologies, new
advances in medicine, and increased economic growth.
Recently, the House Science and Technology Committee passed, H.R. 4380, a
bill permanently authorizing appropriations for the SSC.
The vote was 32-9.
The bill, sponsored by the Chairman of the Committee, Robert Rce, includes a
Federal spending cap of $5 billion for research, design, and construction of