Jun 19 2008

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), today announced committee approval of a number of important projects in the North Alabama area included in the fiscal year 2009 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.  Following today’s action by the committee, the bill will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.


“This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation,” said Shelby.  “The committee’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 - $1.37 Billion

Marshall Space Flight Center is responsible for design and development of the Ares I rocket, funded at $1.018 billion, and the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, funded at a total of $37 million, $30 million above the President’s request, which Senator Shelby was instrumental in securing.  This funding 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 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.”


Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program (LPRP) - $26.4 Million

The Program Management Office for NASA’s Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program (LPRP) is based at Marshall Space Flight Center.  The program includes the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LCROSS and Lunar Robotics Lander missions.  These missions will gather critical data for the return of the United States to the moon and the potential for a long-term presence there.  The bill includes $10 million for continuing development of the planned Lunar Lander mission and an additional $16.4 million for the LPRP program management office at Marshall for activities associated with the Marshall Space Flight Center.  The LPRP management office will be directly involved in the planning and oversight of future lunar robotic missions, integrating lunar data from NASA and other international missions, oversee technology development, and lead NASA’s public outreach and education activities for understanding the lunar environment.


“The LPRP program is an invaluable tool for the scientists and engineers at NASA to determine the best robotic missions with the most scientific potential as we return to the moon,” said Shelby. “The President, Congress and the scientific community have also pointed out the importance of the robotic lunar lander mission and I am pleased with Marshall’s role in accomplishing it.”


Space Shuttle - $2.98 Billion

The Shuttle program has been the workhorse of the nation’s manned space flight operations and has been carrying astronauts into space since 1981.  Marshall Space Flight Center plays a key and ongoing role in the shuttle program through the Shuttle Propulsion Office, which is in charge of the Shuttle main engines, the solid rocket boosters with their solid rocket motors and the external tank.  NASA plans to retire the current fleet of shuttles in 2010 once the International Space Station is completed. 


“Marshall’s expertise has been critical to the Shuttle’s safe return to flight and continued mission of assembling the International Space Station,” said Shelby. “The legislation not only fully funds the Space Shuttle Program, it also fully supports the work of the Shuttle Propulsion Office at Marshall, which will continue to provide ongoing support for the Shuttle program.”


Terrorist Explosives Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) - $50 Million

TEDAC will provide the FBI a state-of-the-art facility to collect and process evidence for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in support of investigative and intelligence priorities related to all types of explosives.  TEDAC will help to prevent potential improvised explosive device (IED) attacks by coordinating and managing the unified efforts of law enforcement, intelligence and military assets to technically and forensically defeat terrorist IEDs. Once obtained, this information can be used to form intelligence to assist in terrorist investigations and develop strategies and technologies to counter terrorist attacks.  The fiscal year 2008 CJS bill included $45 million for TEDAC.


“TEDAC plays a critical role in the mission of the FBI to prevent terrorism and promote national security,” said Shelby.  “Along with the ATF National Center for Explosives Training Research and the FBI Hazardous Devices School, Redstone Arsenal can now appropriately be called the Explosives Research Capital of the world.  The cohesion created by having FBI, ATF, NASA and the Army all in the same location will be invaluable.”


Redstone Arsenal Security Gates - $1.5 Million

Redstone Arsenal will use this funding to construct security gates at the arsenal entrances.


“In light of the recent tragic car accident at Redstone, it is clear that these added security measures are necessary,” said Shelby.  “Moreover, a great deal of important, classified and often dangerous work is conducted at Redstone.  The Arsenal must have needed security in place to protect both those working on the post and the general public.”


NOAA Cooperative Institute for Remote Sensing Applications (CIRSA) - $1 Million

This funding will create CIRSA at the University of Alabama in Huntsville to research issues such as climate change, air quality, information technology, data archiving and mining, remote sensing of atmospheric constituents and instrument development.


“Huntsville has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of atmospheric and IT scientists who specialize in environmental research,” said Shelby.  “By creating CIRSA and locating it in Huntsville, NOAA will receive enhanced collaboration of federal and state research programs.  Specifically, research conducted at CIRSA will address environmental issues specific to the Southeast.”


Tornado and Hurricane Hazards Operations Center (THOR) - $1 Million

The Center will build, test and operate stationary and mobile facilities to demonstrate new and better methods of detecting and monitoring hazardous weather.  The Center is a cooperative effort between UAH, the University of South Alabama, the NOAA Severe Storm Laboratory and the NOAA Hurricane Research Division.


“As we have seen in recent years, the southeastern United States is particularly prone to severe weather in the form of tornadoes and hurricanes,” said Shelby.  “Research at the THOR is focused on increasing public warning times by enhancing our ability to detect and predict the nature of these events.”


Collaborative Research and Development Initiative for the Gulf of Mexico - $1 Million

This program will combine existing activities at NOAA, Alabama research universities, the National Space Science and Technology Center and other federal agencies to more effectively complete NOAA missions.


“This project combines the expertise of NOAA, NASA, the Army and our state’s research universities to tackle the more complicated missions for NOAA,” said Shelby. “Bringing these organizations together allows them to merge their research findings for a common goal.  For example, this funding will allow the final development and testing of a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed sensor for hurricane forecasting.”


Redstone UAS Development for Weather and Atmospheric Research - $1 Million

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.”


Material and Structural Evaluations for Composites - $750,000

The Material and Structural Evaluations for Composites program will assist Marshall Space Flight Center in accomplishing its current and future missions by providing critical information on composite materials as they relate to the NASA space exploration programs.


“As NASA focuses on the future of space programs, it is vital to address material options to provide alternative solutions to mission-critical issues,” said Shelby.  “Currently, NASA faces a unique challenge in advancing its knowledge of composite materials for structural and propulsion applications.  This program will be an important component in understanding the value of composite materials that will be necessary to support the development of advance space systems.”


Robotic Exploration and Lunar Material Utilization - $750,000

As NASA works to meet its current goal of returning humans to the moon and stationing them there for extended periods of time, robotic systems must to explore lunar resources to build an infrastructure for human habitation.  Currently, NASA is working to develop a lander to deliver robotic systems. 


“Before we can meet our goal of returning to the moon, we must ensure that conditions there are safe for our astronauts who will remain there,” said Shelby.  “This funding will allow NASA to continue its work to use robotics to prepare the lunar site.”


Advanced Fabrication and Testing Complex Optical System - $700,000

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will use this funding to conduct research surrounding optical systems used in NASA exploration.


“The University of Alabama in Huntsville will provide NASA and Marshall Space Flight Center with access to state-of-the-art optical fabrication and testing equipment,” said Shelby.  “UAH’s close relationship with NASA provides a unique opportunity to expose students to some of the most advanced scientific research in the world.  By working with the space community in northern Alabama, UAH is not only preparing students for high-paying jobs in the future, but also helping to train a much-needed workforce.”


Modular Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking Sensor System - $550,000

This program will allow NASA to continue work to develop an autonomous rendezvous and docking capability for robotic space missions.


“As the United States moves towards its goal of future space flights, robotic assembly of lunar and Mars exploration spacecraft and its supporting infrastructure must be conducted in Earth and lunar orbit,” said Shelby.  “This will lead to a dramatic increase in rendezvous and docking missions, many of which will be unmanned.  This funding will allow NASA to continue its work to develop a prototype with an operational autonomous rendezvous and docking system.”


NASA Space Nuclear Power Systems Research and Development - $500,000

The Space Nuclear Power Systems project will develop a cost effective nuclear power system to support the long-range objectives of NASA’s missions to the moon, Mars and eventually deep space.

“Marshall Space Flight Center is researching nuclear technology in support of sustained missions to the moon, Mars and beyond,” said Shelby.  “To effectively and efficiently achieve these missions, affordable and abundant power will be required.  Nuclear power technology is the most promising source to accomplish this goal and Space Nuclear Power Systems will help NASA’s development of these resources.”

Remote Engine Diagnosis for Test, Health and Maintenance - $500,000

This program will provide critical breakthrough technology to NASA for materials development, testing and safety improvements to the Space Shuttle and Ares launch systems.


“The Vision for Space Exploration requires concurrent management of Space Shuttle operations and development of the new Ares Launch Systems,” said Shelby.  “Both applications require unique non-destructive evaluation requirements that are not currently being met.  This project, which will create new jobs in North Alabama, will allow NASA to conduct its tests in any environment.”


Multi-Propellant Plume Diagnostic Testbed - $500,000

This program will provide propulsion system plume diagnostics and testing as part of an operational testbed for the Ares Launch vehicles. 


“The Ares Launch vehicles, which are critical to NASA’s future goals, have non-destructive evaluation and testing requirements that current technology cannot accomplish,” said Shelby.  “This project will allow NASA to evaluate hardware, processes, sensors and operational testing much more efficiently.”


Geospatial Analysis of Weather Phenomena and Disaster Recovery - $500,000

The University of North Alabama will use this funding to combine geospatial technology with readily available spatial data to create tools to improve the National Weather Service’s severe weather warnings. 


“Remote sensing is an important emerging technology for severe weather prediction and disaster response,” said Shelby.  “This project will allow the University of North Alabama to shed further light onto the geospatial technology’s capabilities and, in the process, improve our severe weather warning systems.”


Radially Segmented Launch Vehicle (RSLV) LOX/Methane Technology Maturation - $500,000

These funds will allow the Marshall Space Flight Center to continue their ongoing technology maturation program for liquid oxygen and liquid methane propulsion technology.


“The President’s Vision for Space Exploration requires investigation into the advantages of LOX/Methane technology and the advantages of this rocket propellant combination,” said Shelby.  “This partnership between Marshall Space Flight Center and the Air Force Research Laboratories allows us to capitalize upon the ongoing RSLV risk reduction activity by utilizing the existing hardware in place at Marshall.”


High Temperature Materials Research and Development - $500,000

The Alabama A&M University Research Institute will create a High Temperature Carbon-Composite Laboratory to conduct advanced high temperature materials research and development to support NASA Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle initiatives.


“This funding will help spur the growth of minority engineers providing services to NASA in the areas of physics, engineering, information technology, nanotechnology and other technical fields,” said Shelby.  “Alabama A&M University Research Institute will provide Marshall Space Flight Center access to its pool of knowledgeable faculty members and student engineers to help the agency build a skillful and diverse workforce.”


Mission Systems Recording, Archival and Retrieval - $475,000

The Marshall Space Flight Center will use this funding to support NASA’s new exploration initiative, Constellation.  Marshall will handle recording, archiving and retrieval of all Constellation data collected. 


“Placing recording, archiving and retrieval at the Marshall Space Flight Center reinforces just how integral North Alabama is to NASA’s overall mission,” said Shelby.  “Marshall is uniquely capable of handling these important duties for the Constellation initiative.”


U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum Improvements - $500,000

The museum will update exhibits to provide a more stimulating presentation of the history of our nation’s space exploration efforts and serve to increase interest in science and technology.


“As the official visitor center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, it is important that the U.S. Space and Rocket Center move forward to create exhibits that explain NASA’s vision for space exploration,” said Shelby.  “The U.S. Space and Rocket Center is home to some of the most important artifacts of our nation’s space program, including Saturn V’s legacy and the Constellation program.  These exhibits highlight the accomplishments that Alabama has played in support of NASA.  It remains important to update not only the appearance but also the educational value of the museum’s exhibits.”


Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $600 Million

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


Town of Somerville Police Equipment - $65,000
Town of Anderson Police Technology - $50,000
Mobile Data Systems to Enhance Law Enforcement Capability for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center - $500,000

“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 $600 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 - $580 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:


Madison County Integrated Justice System - $1.5 Million
Alabama Department of Public Safety Mobile Data Computer Expansion - $500,000
Alabama Department of Forensic Science - $1 Million
Simon Wiesenthal Center - $1 Million
National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) - $500,000
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) - $500,000

“In many of my 67 county visits this year, district attorneys and law enforcement officers expressed 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.”


Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs - $400 Million

The following grants will provide youth programs the resources necessary to respond to juvenile delinquency and support communities in their efforts to develop and implement prevention and intervention programs. The following area projects were included in the Senate bill:


HANDS Home Shelter for Girls - $125,000
Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center - $500,000
American Village – Building Good Citizens through Character/Civic Education and Outreach for At-Risk Kids - $450,000
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars - $1 Million
Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation - $1 Million

“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,” said Shelby.  “These programs provide our youth with alternative activities to juvenile delinquency.”


The following program in Alabama is slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009:


Zerometh-Alabama’s Methamphetamine Campaign - $1.1 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 extremely dangerous.


“Launched earlier this year, 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.”


The following nationwide projects and programs are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2009:


DEA Development of Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems - $17.8 Million

The Drug Enforcement Administration will develop tactical unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to provide narcotics and border surveillance and interdiction. 


“The DEA will use UASs to detect and apprehend those engaged in illegal drug trafficking,” said Shelby.   “The UASs will equip the DEA with capabilities beyond what is currently available through manned aircraft.  The DEA will coordinate with the U.S. Army to increase technological and research capabilities and limit duplication of resources within federal entities.”


Economic Development Administration - $232.8 Million

The Economic Development Administration works to empower communities recovering from economic distress by assisting them in developing their own revitalization strategies.  Many communities benefiting from EDA assistance have endured economic distress as a result of natural disasters, the closure of military installations and other federal facilities, and the depletion of natural resources.

“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,” said Shelby.  “Within these funds, $15 million is included for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.”

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) - $133.28 Million

EPSCoR works with targeted states to help them become more competitive and improve the level of science education.    

“The bill provides EPSCoR with $133.28 million to assist states, including Alabama, with establishing partnerships with government, higher education and industry that will provide lasting improvements in their research infrastructure,” said Shelby.  “Science is rapidly expanding our understanding of the world around us and will lead to more technology and well paying jobs.  Our students must be armed with a solid science education to succeed later in life.”           

Missing and Exploited Children Programs - $70 Million

The following missing children programs will receive funding:

$30 million for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

         $5 million for Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center

         $30 million to combat internet crimes against children

         $3 million for Missing Children Office within the Department of Justice

         $5 million for the AMBER alert program

         $2 million for management and administration

“Statistics show that nearly 2000 children are reported missing each day,” said Shelby.  “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.  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.”

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding - $221 Million

$181 million for DNA initiative

$40 million for Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement 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, with $181 million specifically designated for the DNA initiative,” said Shelby.  “Also included is $40 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement 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.”

Southeast Border Prosecution Initiative - $10 Million

The Southeast Border Prosecution Initiative compensates law enforcement agencies in the southeast for the costs of handling prosecutions in lieu of federal authorities.  Modeled after a similar program in southwest border states, this new program will assist localities with the costs for prosecution and pre-trial detention for federally initiated and referred criminal cases.  This funding can be used for the costs associated with prosecuting drug and related criminal cases and for law and justice activities in cases prosecuted by a state or county prosecutor.

Play by the Rules National Project - $400,000

Play by the Rules has provided students in Alabama with a better understanding of the laws that govern society each day for several years. Phase III of the program will be an effort to expand the project to five additional states and to provide for the publication of more than 35,000 student books, teacher guides, and on-site technical support and training to ten jurisdictions.

“Research shows that law-related education can have a direct impact on a youth’s decisions when he or she is put in at-risk situations,” said Shelby. “The Play by the Rules project has been successful in Alabama and I am hopeful that it will have the same impact in other states across the country.”