For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
April 23, 1997 (202) 467-5300

Washington, D.C. – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today reiterated its opposition to the International Space Station.  According to CCAGW President Tom Schatz, there is no need for this ill-conceived and enormously expensive undertaking.  “Since its inception, the International Space Station has suffered tremendous cost overruns,” Schatz remarked.  “This solar-powered white elephant is already costing taxpayers $1.8 billion a year, with no end in sight.”

Since the end of the Cold War, the number of nations responsible for constructing the space station has increased dramatically.  The international partnership now includes Russia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  “There are just too many chefs in the kitchen,” declared Schatz.

Cash-poor Russians have fallen nearly a year behind schedule in building their component, a module that is essential to the station’s success.  This delay prompted Science Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) to say, “If Russia continues to fail to fulfill its obligations, it will shake the political and financial underpinnings of the station.”  In addition, foreign policy concerns between the U.S. and Russia threaten to split the fragile space station partnership. 

In this era of fiscal responsibility, commitments such as the International Space Station crowd out funding for other NASA projects.  A space shuttle mission and scheduled shuttle improvements have already been canceled in order to provide more funds for the station.  Groundbreaking research, including data collected from the Hubble Telescope, is also being shortchanged.  NASA cannot afford to begin any new science projects without pulling the plug on existing programs.

“At a time when America is shackled with a $5.3 trillion debt, the International Space Station is a luxury this country simply cannot afford,” remarked Schatz. “Future generations should not be asked to finance such lavish endeavors as the space station.  CCAGW believes the heavens can wait for the international space station until Congress brings the deficit down to Earth.”

CCAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, established in 1985 and dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.  For more information or to schedule an interview, please call Jim Campi at (202) 467-5300.


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