WASHINGTON -- House and Senate conferees yesterday approved $640 million to continue building the Superconducting Super Collider in fiscal 1994, but opponents of the atom smasher are expected to mount one last battle against it when it comes up for a final vote in the House next week.
"We are planning on making an attempt [to kill the finding] and we're optimistic we'll be successful," said Joel Shapiro, an aide to Rep. Jim Slattery, D-Kan., a leading opponent of the super collider finding.
The $640 million is part of a larger appropriations measure designed to fund energy and water development projects next year. The conferees completed work on the measure yesterday, and the full House is scheduled to take a final vote Tuesday, congressional aides said. The Senate must also vote on the bill.
In the original version of the energy appropriations bill, the House voted overwhelmingly not to go forward with the collider project. The House bill would have permitted $220 million to be spent to shut down the project, which is under construction near Dallas.
The Senate, however, defeated a strong challenge from collider opponents and included the full $640 million in collider funding in its version of the energy spending measure.
Texas has issued $250 million each of lease revenue bonds and general obligation bonds as part of its $1 billion contribution to the $11 billion collider project. So far, the federal Department of Energy has spent $2 billion on the collider.
The Texas lease bonds are backed by a state pledge to appropriate lease payments for collider facilities each year. State officials have said they intend to honor that pledge regardless of what Congress does.
But bond documents list the loss of federal funding as a clear risk for the lease bondholders because the project cannot be completed with state finding alone.