Thursday, June 22, 2006

Please, Mr. Postman


According to Defense Tech, Los Alamos National Lab intends to use U.S. Postal Service money as “alternative funding” for a new “science complex”:

Funds for the new Science Center weren't anywhere to be found in the Energy Department's publicly-available budgets. Nuke Watch had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to find out that the Energy Department was digging into the U.S. Postal Service's pockets for two new buildings (one classified, the other not) and a parking lot. "As a justification," Nuke Watch notes, the department "cited a vaguely worded federal law that authorizes the USPS to furnish property and services to executive branch agencies and vice versa."
Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, which uncovered this scheme, has more:
[T]he Lab has prepared no known federally required environmental impact analysis for the project. Further, Congress may be in the dark about this new Science Complex that could cost 100's of millions of dollars.
The project's suppposed to start in 2007 (as is the next USPS rate hike).

The DoD gets a generous amount of research money from the breast cancer stamp, which people can buy or not, as they see fit. I guess the DoE felt that a special-issue "Expand Los Alamos" stamp wouldn't have been quite as popular with the public.

(Thanks to Robster for alerting me to the ambiguous tone of that last paragraph as originally written.)

3 comments:

Robster said...

Not trying to be harsh, but having worked in a lab that has recieved DOD breast cancer research funds (and hoping to recieve them myself in the future), it is a very worthy program. It is one of the few grant programs out there that really rewards going out on a limb, and puts support towards new scientists.

Sad when the DOD can dump billions into new weapons systems, but the government pays for life saving research with stamps.

I might buy a Feynman stamp, though... What a neat person, scientist and professor.

Phila said...

Not trying to be harsh, but having worked in a lab that has recieved DOD breast cancer research funds (and hoping to recieve them myself in the future), it is a very worthy program.

Sorry. The way I phrased that, it could certainly be read as though I'm sneering at that program, which wasn't my intention. It was intended more as a contrast to the secrecy of the other program...that's not at all clear, as it stands. I should probably clarify it.

Robster said...

Phila, No harm, no foul. :)