The House Science and Technology Subcommittee on Energy and Environment has approved legislation to designate natural areas around Department of Energy laboratories as environmental research parks. The bill, HR 2729, sponsored by Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) would authorize and permanently protect seven such areas around the country. Created between 1972 and 1992, the research parks have been used by Department of Energy scientists for long term ecological studies, to investigate the environmental risks posed by energy technologies, and to study environmental remediation and restoration techniques. The lands were originally designated as buffer zones around nuclear research facilities and have consequently been preserved in their natural state. The seven parks collectively represent six major ecosystems and are located in Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington states.
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