WV delegation meets with officials regarding future of Green Ban - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

WV delegation meets with officials regarding future of Green Bank

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The National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank draws thousands of visitors and scientists to the mountains of Pocahontas County each year.

But funding for the observatory could be in jeopardy. Last year, the Portfolio Review Committee recommended the National Science Foundation divest from the observatory over the next five years.

However, Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Nick Rahall, both D-W.Va., are hoping to find a way around that. The two congressmen called a meeting July 1 with the National Science Foundation, West Virginia University, NRAO and Associated Universities, Inc., which manages the facility, to determine a better solution.

"The Green Bank Observatory is more than a hub of world-class scientific research — it's a source of enormous and lasting pride for the people of West Virginia," Rockefeller said. "Simply put, it's a state treasure. And we'll fight tirelessly to keep it open — and keep it strong."

Rockefeller is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees NSF.

Since the committee made its recommendation, both Rockefeller and Rahall, as well as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have investigated other options. One option is a possible partnership between NRAO and WVU. The partnership would allow university researchers to expand their astronomy research and education.

"West Virginia University is committed to building a strong partnership with the Green Bank Observatory based upon several WVU faculty hires over the last several years," said Fred King, vice president of research at WVU. "The university is committed to be an international leader in radio astronomy. We see a continued strong relationship with NRAO and the Green Bank Observatory as a key part of our international leadership."