Jun 24 2009

Shelby Announces Funding for North Alabama Commerce, Justice, and Science Projects

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), announced subcommittee approval of the fiscal year 2010 CJS Appropriations bill.  The legislation includes funding for several projects in Alabama. Following today’s action by the subcommittee, the bill will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation,” said Shelby.  “The subcommittee’s action on this bill reiterates our commitment to funding these projects and advancing important nationwide initiatives.”
The Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Justice (DOJ), among others. 

Ares Projects - $1.5 Billion

Marshall Space Flight Center is responsible for design and development of the Ares I rocket, funded at $1.4 billion, and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, funded at $100 million, $75 million above the President’s request.  Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing this significant increase in funding.  It includes the Systems Engineering and Integration activities, as well as Safety and Mission Assurance activities for Ares I.  Marshall will also lead the development of a new Upper Stage for the Ares I.  Starting in 2015, the Ares I rocket will carry the Orion crew vehicle and its crew of four to six astronauts, and small cargo payloads, to the International Space Station.

“As we prepare to retire the Shuttle in 2010, the groundwork must be laid for the nation’s next manned exploration vehicles and our return to the moon,” said Shelby.  “Without the Ares I and the heavy lift capability of the Ares V rockets, humans will not be able to explore space any further than they can with the Shuttle today.  The ability of NASA to achieve our goals for future space exploration has always been and always will be through Marshall Space Flight Center.”

Marshall Space Flight Center
The Marshall Space Flight Center is a central component of NASA’s mission to return to the moon.  The following projects will enhance MSFC’s capabilities:

• Advanced Algorithm, Integration, and Maturation (AAIM) - $1 Million
• High Temperature Materials Research and Development - $500,000
• Multi-Propellant Plume Diagnostic Testbed - $1 Million
• Product Lifecycle Management - $1 Million         
• Space Nuclear Power Systems Research and Development - $1 Million
• Virtual Environment Simulation Laboratory - $500,000

International Lunar Network (ILN)- $21 Million

As part of the lunar quest program managed at Marshall Space flight Center, the bill includes $21 million for the International Lunar Network.  Marshall Space Flight Center successfully won a competition for this mission in 2005.  Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing the additional $17.3 million that is needed to support the development of this important lunar science mission.  The ILN will become the backbone geophysical network for future robotic missions to the Moon.  This mission reflects the prioritized lunar science goals articulated in the National Research Council’s study, “The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon.

Redstone UAS Development for Weather and Atmospheric Research -$ 300,000

NOAA will deploy unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with sensors and technology to increase research capabilities and opportunities to monitor weather and climate.  These systems will be equipped to track severe weather, collect data and study weather patterns. 

“By locating the UAS Development for Weather and Atmospheric Research at Redstone Arsenal, NOAA will be able to collaborate on research and technology development with the Program Executive Office Aviation, Program Manager Unmanned Aerial Systems, who develop similar programs for unmanned systems for the Army,” said Shelby.  “The synergy created by these two federal entities will curtail duplicative efforts and produce a much better return on the taxpayer’s investment.”

Increasing K-16 Genetics and Biotechnology Education - $1 Million

This project will educate Alabama students of all ages in the emerging fields of genetics and biotechnology.  One of the primary objectives is to create unique educational opportunities to bring biotechnology and genetics programs to students across the state.   By incorporating biotechnology hands-on activities for students of all ages, the skill development necessary to successfully compete for STEM-based careers in research, healthcare, agriculture and information technology would be provided to students.

“These are vital skills necessary for Alabama students to succeed in the global marketplace, yet are currently missing across much of the state’s educational programming,” said Shelby.

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $658 Million

The bill includes critical funding for the law enforcement community to upgrade technology, including in-car computers, cameras and communications systems. The funding also bolsters forensic capabilities.  The following grants will assist state and local law enforcement in their ability to protect and serve their communities. 

• City of Hartselle Wireless Area Network- $250,000
• City of Huntsville Public Safety Technology Upgrades - $750,000
• Cullman County Commission Law Enforcement Data Communication Sharing Information  - $750,000

“Local law enforcement is vital to adequately responding to crime, gang activity and homeland security,” said Shelby.  “The COPS grant program aims to implement and enhance community policing.  COPS funding assists law enforcement agencies across the country meet an ever-increasing range of challenges. The $658 million provided in the bill will allow police and sheriffs’ departments throughout Alabama to take advantage of these grants and increase their enforcement efforts to become more efficient and effective.”    

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program - $510 Million

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) provides funding for law enforcement to implement programs that prevent and control crime based on their own needs.  The following area projects were included in the Senate bill:

• Operation Swordphish - $3 Million
• Alabama Department of Forensic Science - $2.4 Million

“In many of my 67 county visits each year, district attorneys and law enforcement officers express the importance of the Byrne grants,” said Shelby. “This reiterates my strong belief that the individuals serving on the front lines of our communities each day know best what their departments need to successfully do their jobs.  Providing funds directly to our law enforcement officers allow them to control crime based on their own needs and is one of the best ways we can support our crime fighters.”

The following programs in Alabama are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010:

Zerometh-Alabama’s Methamphetamine Campaign - $2 Million

Nationwide, methamphetamine usage is on the rise.  Its use continues to poison our nation and the drug knows no boundaries of age, gender, class or race.  The production of methamphetamine is particularly detrimental to communities, as the materials used to create the drugs are both extremely dangerous and easily obtained.

“Alabama’s Zerometh Campaign works to inform the public about the dangers of using meth,” said Shelby.  “Our local law enforcement officers are working overtime to target drug hot spots and to remove and dispose of hazardous materials at clandestine methamphetamine labs. We must do all we can to eliminate this horrific drug from our communities.”

Bulletproof Vest Program - $30 Million

This program helps local jurisdictions purchase armor vests for use by law enforcement officers.

“Each day our state and local law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities,” said Shelby.  “Regardless of a community’s financial status, we must ensure that our law enforcement officers have the equipment necessary to protect themselves.  This funding will make certain that our law enforcement officers are protected while they are on the front lines of local communities protecting our citizens.”

Drug Courts - $40 Million

Drug courts provide a specialized process within the existing judicial system to address non-violent drug related cases.   Their mission is to stop the abuse of drugs and alcohol along with the related criminal activity.  Drug courts can help with prison overcrowding by keeping convicted offenders from entering the system as well as reducing the revolving door of crimes and drugs by providing treatment to drug-addicted criminal offenders.

“Our nation’s drug courts are instrumental in the effort to remove drug-addicted criminal offenders from our streets and out of our communities,” said Shelby. 

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding - $186 Million

$151 for Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Initiative
$35 million for Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Grants

Our nation’s forensic labs have a critical need to reduce backlogs in all areas, particularly in DNA.  This funding will help meet that need while providing the flexibility required for the men and women in the labs to determine their own priorities.

“Significant funding for forensic sciences as a whole is included in our bill,” said Shelby.  “Also included is $35 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensics Grants. State and local forensics labs use Coverdell grants to address a variety of needs within the forensic sciences, including DNA analysis.  The bill provides significant flexibility to allow state lab directors to use Coverdell dollars to address the pressing needs of their individual labs and make important decisions regarding the best use of federal resources, including DNA backlog reduction.”

FBI Mortgage Fraud – $25.4 Million

This funding will support the FBI’s request for 50 additional for mortgage fraud investigations and reinforce the Bureau’s white-collar crime investigative capabilities.
“Increasing the SEC’s resources to investigate and prosecute financial crimes ensures that financial criminals will be caught and brought to justice,” said Shelby. “I believe this is a critical step toward restoring trust in our financial markets.”

Adam Walsh Child Protection Funding

$36.9 million for U.S. Attorneys to carry out the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act concerning the prosecution of offenses relating to the sexual exploitation of children

$50.8 million for U.S. Marshals Adam Walsh enforcement activities, to hire Deputy Marshals to track down sexual predators, and to help establish the National Sex Offender Targeting Center which improves the information technology backbone and reinforce USMS’s infrastructure so Deputy Marshals have timely, accurate investigative information to track down and arrest those who prey on our nation’s children.

“Child predators who live in our neighborhoods, work in our schools and lurk on playgrounds across this country are every bit as dangerous to the American way of life as any terrorist,” said Shelby.  “Our U.S. Marshals must have the funding necessary to effectively hunt them down and bring them to justice.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Innocent Images Program - $52.7 Million

These funds will provide enhanced capabilities for the Innocent Images Internet Crimes Against Children program and the Innocence Lost program which focus on the transportation of children for prostitution and other crimes. 

“I have repeatedly said that if someone was able to buy heroin over the internet with their credit card, people would be appalled,” said Shelby.  “The acts of child pornography and child prostitution are much worse and we must do everything we can to stop these horrendous actions.”

Innocence Lost Initiative - $5 Million 

This effort by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children combines the efforts of these entities to address the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States. These efforts have rescued over 575 children, the conviction of more than 300 associated with this horrible industry.  This funding will be used to hire additional agents for this initiative.

“Sex trafficking of children one of the most horrific industries I can imagine,” said Shelby.  “Our law enforcement agencies must have the tools and resources necessary to successfully rescue any child that is abducted for this terrible crime.”

Missing and Exploited Children Programs - $70 Million

$30 million for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
$5 million for Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center
$30 million for Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
$3 million for Missing and Exploited Children Office
$2 million for AMBER Alert

“Statistics show that nearly 2,000 children are reported missing each day,” said Shelby.  “It is my hope that this funding will help continue the important work being done to locate these children and return them to their loved ones.  Likewise, crimes against children are a plague on our society and we must continue to work to eradicate them.  Continued investment of substantial resources in these programs is critical to ensure the safety of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens- children.”

Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program - $20 Million

Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program is a new national initiative that will provide grants to state and local governments to locate, arrest and prosecute sexual predators.  These grants, distributed by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will enable state and local law enforcement entities to specifically focus on sexual predators who fail to register, sex offenders who prey upon children and those who engage in child sexual exploitation.  

“It is our obligation to protect our children against child sexual exploitation,” said Shelby.  “We must provide the necessary resources to protect our most vulnerable citizens- children- so they will not fall victim to this despicable act.  I have long supported efforts to protect our children and strongly believe that this funding will go a long way to aid in the eradication of these horrible crimes.”

Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office - $8 Million

The SMART Office was authorized in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 to provide guidance regarding the implementation of the Adam Walsh Act, and provide technical assistance to the states, territories, Indian tribes, local governments, and to public and private organizations. The SMART Office also tracks important legislative and legal developments related to sex offenders and administers grant programs related to the registration, notification, tracking, and monitoring of sex offenders.

“After the ceremony that made the Adam Walsh Act a law, my friend John Walsh said, ‘Legislation without the resources to back it up is nothing more than a photo-op,’” said Shelby.  “I could not agree with him more.  This funding will ensure that SMART, a critical component of the Adam Walsh Act, has the resources necessary to protect our communities against sex offenders.”