Several months ago, there were strong indications that the proposed cuts at Savannah River Site of $150 million in the 2002 fiscal budget would not be made. However, as reported recently on the Editorial Page of The Chronicle, we now learn that the cuts will take place unless we can convince Congress and the Bush administration to restore funding.
SRS has already been cut by almost 50 percent since the 1992 budget - from $2.2 billion a year to $1.1 billion. The fat has been removed and now the cuts are into the bone. These additional cuts will slow the processing of highly toxic nuclear waste at SRS.
Delaying the processing of those wastes increases the danger to public safety as well as costing more in future dollars to eliminate the danger of plutonium contamination of our aquifer, which supplies substantial portions of the Central Savannah River Area's water supply from Augusta to Savannah and Hilton Head.
The situation is safe now, but why increase the danger to the public by failing to promptly take care of nuclear wastes in metal tanks that are slowly deteriorating?
Now is the time to process the waste - not after it leaks into the aquifer. Restore the needed funding now.
Chuck R. Pardue, Augusta