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Janie Har
By Janie Har October 7, 2013

Kitzhaber continues to strive for a national lab in Oregon

OK, sure not every state can boast a Lawrence Livermore or Los Alamos, but Gov. Kitzhaber sounded pretty optimistic that we could have a national laboratory in Oregon when he ran for office in 2010.

In his Environment Plan, he said he would pursue, along with our federal delegation, the establishment of a National Laboratory in Oregon as that would help us economically and environmentally.

The U.S. Department of Energy operates 17 labs, none of which is in Oregon. (Wait, we need to add a caveat: The National Energy Technology Lab has a branch office in Albany, Ore. but that's called a "center," not a national lab.) The only way to get a national laboratory designation is through an act of Congress, according to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In other words, they're not falling from trees.

Still, Kitzhaber's spokesman says that the governor has increased the budgets of the Oregon Innovation Council -- known as Oregon InC. -- from $15.4 million in 2011-13 to $19 million in 2013-15. That includes nearly $6 million for the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute and nearly $5.9 million for the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center this biennium.

We rate this promise Stalled, although we have to be straight with readers: It's really, really hard to get a national laboratory.

Our Sources

Emails from Steven R. Thai, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Public Affairs, Sept. 13, 16, 25, 2013

Emails from and interview with Tim Raphael, Sept. 4, 16, 24, 2013

2010 Environment Plan (page 7)

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