WASHINGTON - A key Senate committee chairman yesterday pledged to fight for continued federal funding for the $8.25 billion Superconducting Super Collider as scientists told lawmakers that completion of the facility is essential to a more complete understanding of the universe.

Opening a joint hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Appropriations energy and water development subcommittee, Sen. J. Bennett Johnson said the super collider project in Texas must be completed as part of the nation's effort to become more competitive internationally.

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