Texas governor’s claim on colliders site unfounded

By Elizabeth M. Behland

Recent claims by the governor of Texas that the $4.4 billion Super Conducting Supercollider will be constructed in his state if Vice President George Bush is elected to the presidency was said by Illinois officials to be “an attempt to put George Bush on the spot” and to gain publicity for Texas.

Susan Mogerman, assistant press secretary for Illinois Gov. James Thompson, said Republican Texas Gov. Bill Clements made the claim in Dallas on Friday.

Mogerman said, “We (the governor’s office) don’t know why he (Clements) said it.”

There is “no evidence” the Department of Energy has released any new information concerning the placement of the supercollider, Mogerman said.

“We have every reason to believe” Illinois remains a top contender in the competition to host the collider, she said.

Kenneth Beasley, assistant to NIU President John LaTourette, said, “In my opinion, there is no truth to such a (Clement’s) claim. If the Department of Energy stays with its current time schedule, the choice of the site will be presented to President Reagan sometime after the November election and before he leaves office.”

Beasley said the DOE postponed the selection of the site until after the election so the process would not be politically influenced.

“I feel that the (Texas) governor is making a false claim and trying to influence George Bush,” he said.

The DOE has released a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement and did not indicate any of the seven states in competition for the supercollider had an advantage, Beasley said.

The EIS draft is an evaluation of the effect the supercollider would have on the competing sites, Beasley said. Some individuals have concluded Texas and Illinois have an advantage, but the draft is still in a preliminary state, he said.

George Beasley, DeKalb County Republican Party chairman, said, “I don’t feel like anybody’s assured of the SSC.

“The governor of Texas is just blowing off smoke,” he said. “There is nothing about George Bush or Michael Dukakis (the democratic presidential candidate) that gives Texas any priority of getting the SSC.”

George Beasley said concluding that the supercollider will be located in Texas because of Bush’s association with Texas is not a substantial claim because democratic vice-presidential candidate Loyd Bentsen is also from Texas.

Clements might be trying to “intimidate” people, George Beasley said.