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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cuts in Renewable Energy Funding Force Layoffs

(Didn't Bush say something in the State of the Union message about reducing America's dependence on oil? You don't suppose he was lying again, do you?)

Budget Shortfall Forces Renewable Energy Laboratory to Lay Off 32 Staff

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Golden, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reduced its staff by 32 people today to help meet a $28 million budget shortfall.

Twenty-seven are regular staff, and five are temporary employees. Of the 32, eight were research staff and 24 worked in support positions.

Congressionally directed projects, or earmarks, reduced the budget available to the Department of Energy for funding renewable energy and energy efficiency research at the Laboratory, leaving $28 million less in operating funds for NREL for fiscal year 2006. The Laboratory made substantial cuts in other areas, including travel, outside contracts and other operating expenses, before reducing staff.

Regular staff affected by the layoffs will remain on payroll through Feb. 10 and will receive severance pay and job search help.

Research programs affected by the layoffs include biomass, hydrogen and basic research.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu, in a message to staff, said, "I appreciate how you have all responded to the challenges placed before us. NREL should now focus on the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

For further information contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090.

3 comments:

unhyphenatedconservative said...

Lynn,
Is there any more info on what exactly the positions were that got cut? After all, if they cut funds for the type of middle management seen in Office Space so that those moneys can be better spent on research, things might be better off.

Lynn Green said...

Twenty-seven are regular staff, and five are temporary employees. Of the 32, eight were research staff and 24 worked in support positions. Their funding for FY '04 was $211.9 mil. They aren't about to close the doors, but this seems that Bush's "devotion" to finding ways to break us from dependency on fossile fuels seems rather dubious.

unhyphenatedconservative said...

Yes, I read that. But what is "research staff" and what are "support positions?" There's lots of pork that could be hidden in those titles.