According to a story on WBOC.com Goddard Space Flight Center is evaluating opportunities to streamline operations at both it’s facility near Washington and at the Wallops Flight Facility. The story says Peter Bale, Chairman of the Wallops Island Regional Alliance, received word that Goddard is exploring cost cutting measures throughout its agency.
This raises concerns about the potential loss of as many as 1,000 jobs at the two facilities which would cause severe economic hardship in the areas affected including the Eastern Shore.
Bale said “We’re unclear and unclear is not good. That area of uncertainty would be very detrimental to how we operate, attracting new customers and attracting the potential business opportunities that continue to evolve here.”
Congressman Scott Taylor said Tuesday that his office is working with others to exempt the Wallops Flight Facility from any reductions. Taylor, along with Senators Tim Kaine, Mark Warner, Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, Senators Chris Koons, Tom Carper and Delegate Andy Harris are united in their opposition to the proposal. Delegate Rob Bloxom, Senator Lynwood Lewis and Governor Ralph Northam are also teaming up to oppose the action.
Delegate Bloxom said, “I am aware local residents are concerned about the discussions that are happening. From a State perspective, we’ve invested a lot of money and ongoing support, and we need to make sure these investments are protected. I have calls into Richmond to make sure we are covered.”
But Goddard is disputing concerns over any potential workforce reductions. They released a statement saying “The team has not been asked to look at potential cuts to Wallops, and will not make any recommendations in that area.”
Goddard also followed that statement by saying “NASA headquarters has directed Goddard… to identify strategies to reduce the cost of NASA facilities… purposes of developing an Agency 20-year facilities master plan.”