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Green Bank Observatory Needs Your Support!

October 26, 2016

TechConnect West Virginia recognizes the very important role of the Green Bank Observatory in Greenbankadvancing scientific research, and its status as an iconic organization in West Virginia.  Discoveries made at the Green Bank Observatory have added to the body of scientific knowledge, led to additional advancements in understanding of our universe, and engaged students and scholars of all ages throughout the decades.

The National Science Foundation has announced two public scoping meetings and a public comment period for a planned environmental impact statement and proposed changes to Green Bank Observatory operations. The public scoping meetings will be held on November 9, 2016 from 3-5pm and 6-8pm at the Green Bank Observatory Science Center.

The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental impact statement analysis, including identifying viable alternatives for the Green Bank Observatory operations.

Alternatives to be evaluated in the EIS will be refined through public input, with preliminary proposed alternatives that include the following:

  • Continued NSF investment for science-focused operations (No-Action Alternative)
  • Collaboration with interested parties for science- and education-focused operations with reduced NSF-funded scope
  • Collaboration with interested parties for operation as a technology and education park
  • Mothballing of facilities (suspension of operations in a manner such that operations could resume efficiently at some future date)
  • Deconstruction and site restoration

TechConnect believes it is critically important to let the National Science Foundation know how valuable the Green Bank Observatory is to West Virginia and field of science.  We encourage the public’s engagement on this issue.  Below are several important points about the facility that can be included in comments to the National Science Foundation.

  • Over 50,000 visitors and 3,500 students visit Green Bank every year to learn and be inspired by science and technology.
  • More than 54 different groups spent at least one night in Green Bank last year using the 40ft educational telescope and taking part in Green Bank’s unique STEM education programs
  • Fourteen different week-long residential educational workshops were held in Green Bank last year, for groups ranging from West Virginia science teachers, high school students, college students, professionals, and the general public and with participants travelling from across West Virginia and across the world
  • Ceasing science operations at the GBT will affect the careers of over 900 astronomers, including many which are just entering the field.
  • The Green Bank Observatory brings an estimate $30M annually in economic benefits to West Virginia.
  • The GBT is one of NSF’s newest large telescopes and remains at the cutting edge of astronomy, making ground breaking discoveries in fields as broad as quantum mechanics, the study of gravity, and the search for life beyond Earth

Information about the Green Bank Observatory can be found at https://greenbankobservatory.org/about/.

Public comments can be sent to the National Science Foundation at the following address.  For our records, we appreciate receiving copies of any comments sent to the NSF. Our email address is included in the e-mail option below and our mailing address is also below.

You may submit written comments by either of the following methods:

Send an email: envcomp-AST-greenbank@nsf.gov with cc to eis@gbobservatory.org. The subject should read: Green Bank Observatory

Mail to: Elizabeth Pentecost; RE: Green Bank Observatory; National Science Foundation; 4201 Wilson Blvd.; Suite 1045; Arlington, VA 22230.