Congress investigating how ecology lab lost funding

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July 17, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C.---Congress is now looking into why the Department of Energy pulled funding from the Savannah River Ecology Lab which monitors and makes sure SRS doesn't harm our air, water and soil.

Congressman John Barrow (D)-GA was among those testifying today in Washington. He told the panel he was concerned what the Department of Energy told him didn't jive with what local leaders, the scientific community and others had told him about the lab.

Congressman Barrow also said it was important to maintain an independent and credible reviewing agency like SREL to keep monitoring the Site's effects on wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems.

We spoke with the interim co-director of the lab, Dr. Carl Strojan today about the hearings. He says this means the only monitoring agency left to make sure SRS doesn't harm our air, water and soil is the Site's contractor. He said "Typically what they don't do is, is what we do, in looking for trends and how things change over time, and trying to understand processes at work." Dr. Strojan says we'd now be depending on the Savannah River Site monitoring its own effects on the environment.

The Savannah River Ecology Lab has been here since 1951. 40 workers were let go June 30th, and the few employees who remain are working on finishing work funded by grants.

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