Jul 11 2006

SHELBY SECURES FUNDING FOR IMPORTANT PROJECTS IN SOUTH ALABAMA

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), today announced subcommittee approval of a number of important projects in South Alabama included in the fiscal year 2007 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill. Following today’s action by the subcommittee, this bill will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Senator Shelby said, “This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation. The subcommittee’s action on this bill reiterates our commitment to funding these projects and advancing important nationwide initiatives.”

The 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), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Departments of Commerce (DOC) and Justice (DOJ), among others.

Senator Shelby said, “I believe our bill strikes an important balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, terrorism, research, and strengthening US competitiveness through investment in science. Specifically, our bill includes $193.5 million for DNA and other forensic sciences, including $175.5 million for DNA backlogs and $18 million for Paul Coverdale Forensic Grants. It restores funding for important law enforcement programs. The bill includes $810 million for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance of which $555 million is for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, $537.6 million for COPS, $300.2 million for Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $85 million for Methamphetamine Enforcement Programs, $50.533 million for Missing Children Programs, and $390 million for Violence Against Women Programs. In addition, the bill includes $280.4 million for EDA, $4.4 billion for NOAA, and $16.7 billion for NASA.”

Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center - $ 20 million

Currently, there is no consolidated location to house all of NOAA’s disaster response efforts. The Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center will house core staff for the NOAA National Response Teams, National Ocean Service Response and Restoration, National Ocean Service Damage Assessment, the NOAA Coast Survey and others at a central location in Mobile. Co-locating these essential agencies will allow NOAA to better respond to disasters and ensure greater cooperation with other federal, state and local agencies.

Senator Shelby said, “Hurricane Katrina taught us all how important coordination is within agencies and across every level of government. This facility will allow NOAA to consolidate its disaster efforts under one roof and better address the needs of the affected communities following a disaster.”

Fisheries Infrastructure Investigation Assessment and Improvement Project - $3 million

Senator Shelby said, “The major infrastructure that supports our nation’s fishing industry is constantly under attack by the elements. It is important that we have a comprehensive assessment of communities needs and the adjustments and improvements that are required, so that we may begin to develop new techniques and materials to extend the life of this critical infrastructure.”

Alliance Education Program for Gulf of Mexico - $3 million

The Gulf of Mexico Alliance is a partnership of the five Gulf States and 13 Federal Agencies to increase collaboration in order to strengthen the economic vitality of coastal communities in the region. The education effort is led by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, in coordination with Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant and other state representatives. The funding will support a coordinator for the activities of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Education and Outreach Network.

Senator Shelby said, “Education and outreach are a critical part of the overall plan to protect the resources and beauty of the Gulf Coast. The Sea Lab and the Sea Grant Consortium are well-suited to lead this important effort.”

Escatawpa River Long-Leaf Hills Ecological Area and Red Hills Big Flat Creek - $6 million

Senator Shelby said, “The State of Alabama will purchase more than 6,000 acres of land in the Red Hills in Monroe County and along the Escatawpa River in Mobile and Washington Counties from willing sellers. This investment in our natural resources will not only protect coastal wetlands, water quality and wildlife habitat, but will also promote additional tourism to the area, which is one of the strongest economic engines along our coast.”

Dauphin Island Costal Protection Project - $2.5 million

Mobile County plans to purchase a portion of Dauphin Island, which is the last undeveloped area of the island. Dauphin Island is a barrier island and protects the Mobile Bay and the coastline of Mobile County from severe weather. The land will remain undeveloped to preserve the area’s wildlife and birds, and more importantly to ensure that its ability to protect the coastline remains intact.

Senator Shelby said, “Barrier islands play an integral role in protecting coastal Alabama during severe storms and hurricanes. In addition, the west end of Dauphin Island serves as an important habitat for many coastal species. We must ensure that we make every effort to protect our citizens by preserving essential land such as this.”

Mobile Bay Fisheries Initiative - $2.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The fishing industry is a critical component of Alabama’s economy and Mobile Bay plays an important role as a breeding ground and fishery. This funding will allow the University of South Alabama, working with the State Department of Conservation, to continue their efforts to restore and enhance this vital habitat.”

Southeast Shrimp Industry Fishing Effort Cooperation Research - $1.1 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Southern Shrimp Industry Alliance will utilize this funding to conduct research, collect data, and provide analyses to determine and document shrimp industry fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic.”

Center for Eco-System Based Fisheries Management - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “These funds were included for the construction and outfitting of a NOAA fisheries lab at Dauphin Island. This new facility will focus on the issues and concerns associated with the Gulf of Mexico and its fisheries. The housing of the facility on the campus of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab will provide increased opportunities for collaborative research among federal, state and university researchers.”

Weeks Bay Reserve - $2 million

This funding will allow the State Lands Division to expand laboratories and classrooms at the Weeks Bay Estuarine Research Reserve near Fairhope, Alabama.

Senator Shelby said, “Weeks Bay is a valuable research and educational tool for our state and nation. Expansion of these facilities will allow the Reserve to reach more students and increase the already impressive research conducted at Weeks Bay.”

SURA Coastal Ocean Observing System - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Included in our bill is $5 million for the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) Coastal Ocean Observing System. The goal of this program is to provide comprehensive, real-time access to observational data, and to produce forecasts of coastal hazards.”

USA Mitchell College of Business Library - $300,000

Senator Shelby said, “Mitchell College of Business at the University of South Alabama will renovate the current University infrastructure to include a library, reading room, and career resource office to be utilized by business school students.”

USS Alabama Battleship Project - $ 350,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is Alabama’s number one tourist destination, drawing people from all over the nation to our state’s hotels, shops, and restaurants. Improvements to the Park, such as adding classrooms and a theater to the aircraft pavilion, will only attract more people and revenue for the region.”

Wild American Shrimp Marketing - $8 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Southern Shrimp Industry Alliance will use these funds to conduct research to develop a marketing campaign and to create new products. This will improve quality assurance of domestic and wild shrimp from several southern states, including Alabama.”

Coastal Weather Monitoring for Catastrophic Events - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $1 million to further the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Weather Monitoring for Catastrophic Events project. These funds will be used for weather monitoring equipment to measure wind gusts, water surge and rainfall levels. Storm surge and flooding are often the most damaging part of hurricane landfall. This research will provide coastal communities a better picture of what to expect from tropical events.”

National Maritime Center of the Gulf - $3 million

Senator Shelby said, “The National Maritime Center of the Gulf creates an environment where important artifacts can be preserved and the general public can learn about the life that is hidden within the Gulf. These funds will be used by the center for educational exhibits and programs focusing on the ocean and the ecosystems it contains.”

Gulf State Consumer Education Program - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “This funding will be used for the Gulf State Regulatory Agencies and Gulf State Non-Profit Business Associations to implement an effective education program focusing on Vibrio Vulnificus within their respective states. The industry council has the ability to produce and distribute invaluable information to consumers to address concerns with oyster consumption. In working with state regulatory agencies, the non-profits will be able to provide important information to educate the consumer and ensure that “at-risk” populations are properly informed and that the general public is an educated consumer.” Gulf of Mexico Oyster Initiative - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “The oyster industry is a staple of Alabama’s coastal economy and its impact can be felt far beyond our state’s shores. This legislation includes $1 million to research innovative ways to grow and strengthen the Gulf oyster industry. This research is integral to the success of the Gulf oyster industry.”

Hurricane Intensity Research- $2 million Senator Shelby said, “We have been reminded over the past few years how important it is for South Alabamians to be prepared for hurricanes and tropical storms. We provided $2 million to be used for hurricane intensity research in coordination with NOAA, the University of South Alabama and the National Data Buoy Center in Mississippi. This will further assist in learning more ways we may better prepare for these storms.”

Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force (RFTF) will be headquartered in Birmingham with sub-offices in Montgomery, Huntsville, and Mobile, Alabama as well as Jackson and Oxford, Mississippi. The purpose of RFTF, which operates under the United States Marshals Service, is to combine the efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to locate and apprehend the most dangerous fugitives and assist in high-profile investigations. This funding represents a $2 million increase over the President’s request, and will help state, local, and other law enforcement to get the most wanted violent fugitives in the Gulf.”

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $538 million

The bill includes critical funding for the law enforcement community to upgrade technology, such as in car computers, cameras, and communications systems. The funding will also assist in law enforcement efforts by bolstering the forensic capabilities. The following grants will assist state and local law enforcement in their ability to protect and serve their communities. The bill instructs the Department of Justice to provide priority consideration for the following projects during the grant process:

City of Andalusia, Drug Enforcement, Prosecution and Clean Up, Assistance to Police Project

City of Dothan Police Department, Southeast

Alabama Public Safety Communications Network

City of Greenville, Mobile Data Terminals and Police Department Equipment Upgrades

City of Orange Beach, Law Enforcement Upgrades

Slocomb Police Department, Vehicle Fleet Enhancement Project

Mobile County Commission, Interoperability Public Safety Radio System

City of Headland Police Department, Communications Equipment Upgrades

City of Luverne, Police Department Improvements City of Atmore, Atmore Police Department Technology Improvements

Senator Shelby said, “The COPS grant program aims to help law enforcement agencies implement and enhance community policing. COPS funding assists law enforcement agencies across the country meet an ever-increasing range of challenges. The $538 million provided in our bill will allow police departments throughout Alabama to take advantage of these grants and increase their enforcement efforts to become more efficient and effective.”

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs - $ 300.2 million

The bill provides funding for important at-risk youth programs and research. The following grants will provide youth programs the funds necessary to work with at-risk juveniles and provide them with alternatives to delinquency. The bill instructs the Department of Justice to provide priority consideration for the following projects during the grant process:

City of Gulf Shores, Youth Outreach and Drug Prevention Program

Team Focus Inc., Mentoring and Education Program

University of Mobile, RamKids Project

University of South Alabama, Youth Violence Prevention Research

Senator Shelby said, “We must continue to work with our nation's young people to provide them with the tools and training they need to become contributing members of society. These programs provide our youth with critical alternatives to crime and mischief.”

Economic Development Administration - $251 million

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) provides grants to local governments and non-profit agencies for public works, planning, and other projects designed to facilitate economic development. The bill instructs the Department of Commerce to provide priority consideration of the following projects during the grant process:

Bayou La Batre Seafood Industry Association

Wilcox County Industrial Development Project

Senator Shelby said, “It is critical that our communities have the infrastructure necessary in place to attract new businesses and residents.”

The following state projects and programs are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006:

Crew Launch Vehicle - $837 million and Crew Exploration Vehicle - $895 million

Senator Shelby said, “As we prepare to retire the Shuttle in 2010, the groundwork must be laid for the Nation’s next manned exploration vehicles. The bill provides $837 million for the Crew Launch vehicle and $895 million for the Crew Exploration Vehicle. This investment will allow for the development of our next generation of manned spacecraft that will return man to the moon.”

NOAA Weather Radio Receivers - $200,000

Senator Shelby said, “It is important that our schools are able to stay abreast of bad weather conditions. Our bill includes $200,000 to provide weather radios for 1,000 Alabama schools. These radios will ensure that our schools are able to receive up-to-the-minute information about storm warnings to be sure that they are aware and prepared in the event of a dangerous weather event.”

Drought Research Study - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $2 million for researchers at the University of Alabama, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Auburn University, Alabama A & M University, and Tuskegee University to begin in-depth hydrology research to determine whether large-scale irrigation is a viable option for the Southeast. This study will also provide critical information for both farmers and local government, regarding the health of Alabama’s water resources.”

Alabama GIS Base Mapping Project - $2 million

Senator Shelby said, “Accurate, high resolution GIS mapping of Alabama will allow state and local agencies to better plan and prepare for emergency within the state. The project will allow emergency managers and community planners to utilize the most up-to-date maps available when developing evacuation plans, traffic patterns, or community development.”

Alabama Environmental Education Center - $500,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama 4-H Club Foundation provides students throughout the state with a “learning-by-doing” education program in kindergarten through 12th grades. The Alabama 4-H Environmental Education Center in Shelby County will receive $500,000 to assist with their efforts to expand this important learning experience for students.”

Alabama Department of Archives and History - $400,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama Department of Archives and History was the first State Department of Archives and History in the United States. The preservation of materials is essential to a better understanding of our history and the department’s ability to continue to grow. More importantly the expansion will allow current and future generations to explore important documents.”

Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce - $250,000

Senator Shelby said, “The Alabama Small Business Institute of Commerce works hand-in-hand with universities and other organizations across the state to encourage economic development, increase employment and reduce business failure. Business education and workforce training play a critical role in a successful small business. Small businesses represent a significant portion of our state economy, and we must continue to support them in every way possible.”

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $538 million

The bill includes critical funding for the law enforcement community to upgrade technology, such as in car computers, cameras, and communications systems. The funding will also assist in law enforcement efforts by bolstering the forensic capabilities. The following grants will assist state and local law enforcement in their ability to protect and serve their communities. The bill instructs the Department of Justice to provide priority consideration for the following projects during the grant process:

Alabama Department of Public Safety, ADPS Digital In-Car Video System

Alabama Department of Public Safety and Integrity Unit, ADPS Law Enforcement Integrity Program

Alabama Department of Forensics, Forensic Science Laboratory

Troy University, Computer Forensic Laboratory

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Forensic Sciences Laboratory

Senator Shelby said, “The COPS grant program aims to help law enforcement agencies implement and enhance community policing. COPS funding assists law enforcement agencies across the country meet an ever-increasing range of challenges. The $538 million provided in our bill will allow police departments throughout Alabama to take advantage of these grants and increase their enforcement efforts to become more efficient and effective.”

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs - $ 300.2 million

The bill provides funding for important at-risk youth programs and research. The following grants will provide youth programs the funds necessary to work with at-risk juveniles and provide them with alternatives to delinquency. The bill instructs the Department of Justice to provide priority consideration for the following projects during the grant process:

Council on Substance Abuse, Community Prevention Intervention for Youth

Senator Shelby said, "we must continue to work with our nation's young people to provide them with the tools and training they need to become contributing members of society. These programs provide our youth with critical alternatives to crime and mischief.”

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program - $555 Million

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) provides funding for law enforcement to implement programs and projects that prevent and control crime based on their own needs. The bill instructs the Department of Justice to provide priority consideration for the following projects during the grant process:

Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts - Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, Department of Corrections- Records Management System Revision

Alabama Administrative Office of the Courts, Criminal Justice Integration - Judicial Phase Alabama Department of Corrections, Electronic Training and Security Tools

Alabama District Attorney’s Association, Alabama District Attorney’s Association Domestic Abuse Prevention Program

Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education, Play by the Rules: Alabama Laws for Youth Nationalization Project

A Child Is Missing, Inc., A Child Is Missing Program in Alabama

Senator Shelby said, “Byrne grants are key to local law enforcement efforts because they give the control directly to our crime fighters. I firmly believe that those individuals serving on the front lines of our communities each day, know best what their departments need to successfully do their jobs.”

The following nationwide projects and programs are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006:

SEXUAL OFFENDER ELIMINATION PROGRAMS- $91 million

Marshal Service Sex Offender Apprehension Program - $16.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Marshal Service Sex Offender Apprehension Program will allow the Marshals Service to track down and arrest unregistered sex offenders. There are more than 100,000 unregistered sex offenders in the United States. These funds will assist in eliminating these despicable criminals from our communities and help to bring them to justice.”

Federal Bureau of Investigation Innocent Images Program - $14 million

Senator Shelby said, “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. The acts of child pornography and child prostitution are much worse and we must do everything we can to stop these horrendous acts.”

United States Attorneys - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Crimes against children are a plague on society and we must continue to work to eradicate them. Our bill provides the United States Attorneys $5 million to prosecute child abuse and exploitation crimes that arise due to the exponential growth in internet related exploitation cases. I believe that the key to fighting these horrific crimes is through coordination and communication between all levels of law enforcement and local communities, and the involvement of our US Attorneys will be of paramount importance to this process.”

Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program- $ 55 million

Senator Shelby said, “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. Working through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, these grants 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 these crimes. 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.”

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding $175.5 million for DNA initiative

$18 million for Coverdell Grants

Senator Shelby said, “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, specifically $175.5 million for the DNA initiative. Also included is $18 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensics Grants. These grants have been made available to state and local forensics labs to address a variety of needs within the forensic sciences, including DNA analysis. To further that goal, 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.”

Methamphetamine Enforcement and Clean-up - $85 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $85 million for state and local law enforcement officials to combat methamphetamine production and distribution. This program will also work to target drug hot spots, and to remove and dispose of hazardous materials at clandestine methamphetamine labs.”

Missing and Exploited Children Programs - $50.5 million

The following missing children programs will receive funding:

$23,806,000 for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

$2,976,000 for Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center

$15,375,000 to combat internet crimes against children

$1,488,000 for Missing Children Office within the Department of Justice

$4,960,000 for the AMBER alert program

$1,928,000 for management and administration

Senator Shelby said, “Statistics show that nearly 2000 children are reported missing each day. It is my hope that this funding will help to 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.”

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth Initiative - $5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $5 million for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth Initiative. This nationwide program will continue Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ record of commitment to ensure that at-risk children have caring adults in their lives.”

Big Brothers/Big Sisters is comprised of over 450 local agencies, eight of which are in Alabama, serving youth between the ages of five and eighteen. They serve over 225,000 children in community, school and site-based mentoring programs to provide children with meaningful, mentor relationships.

Victims of Crime Act Fund

Senator Shelby said, “The Victims of Crime Act Fund is maintained in our bill as in previous fiscal years. This ensures that important women’s shelters, children advocacy centers, and Violence Against Women’s Act related activities are maintained.”

Boys and Girls Club - $85 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $85 million for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. This important program provides a supportive and safe environment for our nation's youth to learn and grow.”

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) – $537.6 million

Senator Shelby said, “COPS funding helps law enforcement agencies across America meet an ever-increasing range of challenges with community policing. Technology and communication upgrades help ensure law enforcement officers have the information they need while in the field.”

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grants - $810 million

Senator Shelby said, “The State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance grants program is a partnership among federal, state and local governments to create safer communities. Over $800 million has been included in our bill for this important program, which includes $555 million for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants.”

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention - $ 300.2 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) will receive $300.2 million for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). OJJDP provides national leadership, coordination, and resources to prevent and respond to juvenile delinquency and victimization. OJJDP supports states and communities in their efforts to develop and implement effective and coordinated prevention and intervention programs. It also works to improve the juvenile justice system so that it protects public safety, holds offenders accountable, and provides treatment and rehabilitative services tailored to the needs of juveniles and their families.”

Regional Information Sharing System - $40 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program is composed of six regional centers that share intelligence and coordinate efforts against criminal networks that operate in many locations across jurisdictional lines. Typical targets of RISS activities are drug trafficking, terrorism, violent crime, cybercrime, gang activity and organized criminal activities.” Pegasus Program- $5 million

Senator Shelby said, "Pegasus, a program that allows local law enforcement and first responders across the country to share information, will assist with the integration of criminal information databases. These databases will efficiently provide information, particularly helpful to rural law enforcement with limited financial and technology resources. It is my hope that this expedient sharing of information will help local law enforcement solve crimes and keep criminals off our streets."

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research - $110 million Senator Shelby said, “The bill provides $110 million for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The funding provided will assist states within EPSCoR to establish partnerships with government, higher education and industry that provide lasting improvements in their research infrastructure. These funds will assist EPSCoR states to become more competitive in science and improve the level of science education.”

Hollings’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program - $106 million

Senator Shelby said, “The Hollings’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership program continues to be a success story by partnering federal, state, public and private entities in order to assist small and mid-sized American manufacturers in modernizing their company so that they may compete in the global marketplace.”

Economic Development Administration - $280.4 million

Senator Shelby, “The Economic Development Administration provides grants to local governments and non-profit agencies for public works, planning and other projects designed to facilitate economic development. Within these funds, $15 million is included for trade adjustment assistance.”

JASON Foundation - $2.5 million

Senator Shelby said, “Our bill includes $2.5 million for the Jason Foundation. These funds will be used to help introduce innovative instructional approaches and improve student and teacher learning outcomes in the fields of math and science in classrooms across the country.”