A growing coalition of community members, scientists, educators, and Fermilab employees have signed an open letter and petition urging local and national elected officials to restore the longstanding tradition of openness and community engagement at Fermilab, the United States' premier particle accelerator laboratory. The letter, which has amassed over 2,000 signatures and more than 130 community testimonials in less than one week, calls for elected representatives to take action to address recent changes to the lab's site access policies.
These policy changes have restricted public—and at times even employee—access to various parts of the facility and, as a result, have negatively impacted the local community's connection to Fermilab, the lab's educational programs, and its international scientific collaborations. Signatories assert that the current policies undermine Fermilab's historically welcoming and inclusive environment, which has fostered a strong relationship with the public for decades.
The letter, addressed to the offices of Representatives Bill Foster and Lauren Underwood, Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, and Mayors David Brummel and Jeff Schielke, highlights the consequences of these restrictions on the local community and the scientific process. Testimonials from community members, educators, and scientists reveal the far-reaching impacts of the policy changes on both the lab's reputation and its ability to conduct world-class research.
Fermilab has claimed that their site technically remains open to the public, with specific hours, ID access requirements, and some available activities for visitors. However, the advocates for Reopen Fermilab argue that the current policies are in fact extremely restrictive compared to those before COVID and a far cry from the lab's historically welcoming and inclusive environment since its founding.
The petitioners are calling on local and national elected officials to take action and restore the lab's connection to the community and its dedication to scientific innovation and education. The full text of the open letter, as well as the growing list of signatures and testimonials, can be viewed at www.ReopenFermilab.com.
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