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which might have competitive contracts within NIE, the corporate infrastructure actually pay most of the bills, and the Government would simply be putting money where it sees such extramural research could be useful.
On the other hand, if we rely, as we do in many cases, on intramural research, I think we have to be very careful of where we are spending the money.
So I see this as a money saver, and I repeat, I think an ounce of prevention is worth 20 tons of cure if we are talking about a $130 billion cost of regulation in this country. Dr. Schaefer put it at $110 billion. A New York Times article recently had $130 billion. I don't know if that is a reasonable assessment.
Dr. Corson has referred to the Hanford plant. A CNN update, which may or may not be accurate, pegged the 30-year cost of radioactive waste in our country from Department of Energy facilities at $300 billion, and that is a lot of money. That is basically a savings and loan debacle just in cleanup. Well, wouldn't it be nice if we knew enough about environmental issues to avoid such problems?
So I actually see the NIE as an excellent investment which would save money, and it would save money both in permitting a stable regulatory environment and educating the public so the public wouldn't be prone to stampeding after emotional causes and would have leaders in the media and in the policy-making roles who could let them in on some secrets. Sometimes the emotional stampedes are very expensive and don't lead anywhere.
So I think we are actually a money saving proposition.
Dr. GAGE. I guess I have to argue with Dr. Howe. I am fairly familiar with the overhead rates associated with most major American universities, and they are essentially the same as he quoted for the National Laboratories. Minimum 50 percent, ranging to up to well over 100 percent in some of the more prestigious universities.
So it is a little hard to imagine how cost savings are going to be effected except for the possibility that all the work is going to be done by undergraduate and graduate students who, of course, operate at considerably lower wages. There may be some cost savings there.
Another thing just to point out, the Argonne National Laboratory and the other Federal laboratories of that class are all operated as Government-owned, contractor-operated organizations, and those are contracts to the private sector already, whether it is Martin Marietta at Oak Ridge or the University of Chicago operating Argonne National Laboratory.
So we need to be very careful in terms of comparing on an apples to orange basis of what it really costs to do research and development in this country.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. It is an interesting debate.
Dr. DAVIES. I guess I would only add to this question that it depends on what you want to get, and I would just quickly repeat what I said earlier, namely that if what you want is interdiscipli
nary policy-oriented research, it is going to be very, very hard to get it from a university setting.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me again thank each of you for your—for the time that it took to get prepared to come and answer more questions. I wish that we had had more participation on the part of members of the subcommittee, and I apologize to you for that. There are a lot of other places that Members have to go. I had to leave temporarily myself to go to Public Works Committee where we are marking up legislation which I felt was very important.
You have, by your participation, I think, made a significant contribution to this debate, and I want to say again that we appreciate it very, very much.
We might have questions—I hope indeed that we will have questions from members of the subcommittee within reason, and we would appreciate if you would provide us with reasonable answers. I say reasonable, only in length. It is up to you to say whether they are reasonable or not.
The subcommittee stands adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12:38 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
Research to Protect, Restore, and
Manage the Environment
Committee on Environmental Research
Commission on Life Sciences
NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C. 1993
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board
The report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures
This study by the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences was sponsored
Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 93-84438
Additional copies of this report are available from:
National Academy Press
Copyright 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America