Dec 17 2004

Statement from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham on the Announcement of Workforce Reductions at SRS

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the announcement of workforce reductions at Savannah River Site (SRS): “As I’ve indicated in the past, the force levels at SRS will inevitably be reduced as we move toward completion of the cleanup mission. “The layoffs are a result of the workload being reduced as we transition from cleanup to preparing for new missions – not a lack of federal funding for SRS. The Fiscal Year 2005 budget for SRS allows all existing projects to move forward -- some ahead of schedule -- in the area of cleanup. It also keeps the future development of new missions on track. “There will be more layoffs as we clean up the Site and the future missions will not be sufficient to maintain the current level of employment. Now more than ever, it is important we diversify the economy of the region. I’m hopeful we can create a new private sector-based economy focusing on hydrogen and other research projects leading to a robust and stable economy for the area for decades to come. “New missions such as MOX, combined with SRS’s new status as a national laboratory, will create some future employment opportunities -- many of them in the private sector. “However, all the new potential missions and the on-going cleanup efforts, will not be sufficient to maintain the current level of employment. It is a hard reality we face post Cold-War and a fact I have stated on numerous occasions. Post-Cold War, SRS’s employment levels will never be what they were and will continue to decline even as new missions come on board. “This dynamic is a hard reality. It’s something we need to continue preparing for and why the national lab is so important to the future of the area. ####