One of the region's largest employers could be hit hard if the federal government shuts down for an extended period of time.
Pete Genzer, a spokesman for Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, said if funding is pulled from the Department of Energy, BNL could stay afloat for "longer than a month."
But much longer than that, he said, would start to affect the staff of roughly 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians and support staff.
"I've been hearing we could last longer than a month," Genzer said, adding that employees were not affected by government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, which totaled nearly one month. "Then we could start to see some impacts at that time, including furloughs."
Genzer said employees at BNL are not federal employees, but rather contractors and employees of Brookhaven Science Associates. A note on the BNL website states that "Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University."
The lab recently made headlines as U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton,warning that one budget proposal would result in nearly 1,000 layoffs. In addition to the lost jobs, BNL has stated it would have to close its National Synchroton Light Source and Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider should the spending bill pass. Bishop said the federal government has spent nearly $6 billion building and developing the two technologies.