Batavia mayor ready to fight for Fermilab

Geneva, IL

Proposed Congressional budget cuts that could mean 450 jobs lost at Fermilab has Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke up in arms.

“Fermilab is a real golden nugget for us to have,” Schielke said. “I’m ready to start making noise again about Fermilab funding.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, issued a statement Monday criticizing a proposed House Republican cut of $1.1 billion from a $5.121 billion budget request from the Office of Science.

But Schielke remembers a time when it was a Republican who helped keep Fermilab funded.

“The last time (a budget cut threat) happened was right after Republican Speaker (Dennis) Hastert resigned,” Schielke said.

He said Fermilab has helped spur some small growth development in the area, and that other community leaders are also against Fermilab budget cuts.

But Schielke said he’s heartened by Durbin’s desire to fight for the funding, and added that mayoral action probably isn’t necessary.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-14, whose district includes Fermilab, issued a statement Tuesday on the budget cut.

"The Continuing Resolution approved by the House does impose cuts on FermiLab and other Department of Energy facilities, as it does on almost every federal agency. However, we can't lose sight of the fact that the Administration and the Department of Energy are unfairly targeting High-Energy Physics programs and facilities for cuts in their FY2012 budget," Hultgren said. "Last week, I had the opportunity to question the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the answers he gave me regarding cuts to the High-Energy Physics program in the Administration’s budget were unacceptable. I look forward to using my position on the Science, Space & Technology Committee to work with and fight for FermiLab and the jobs it provides for this region."