Jun 08 2006

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE APPROVES FY 2006 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL

U. S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced Conference Committee approval of important funding for Alabama included in the fiscal year 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill for the Global War on Terror and Hurricane Relief. The bill will soon be voted on in the House. The Senate will consider the bill following House approval, after which it will be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.

 

GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

Abrams Tanks - $600 million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that the supplemental restored funding for the M1A2 Abrams tank fleet. These funds will allow for the continuation of upgrades and maintenance on the Abrams, providing our warfighters with the most advanced equipment available. The Anniston Army Depot plays a major role in the refurbishment of the Abrams and I believe that these funds will allow production in Alabama to continue and ensure our servicemembers have the necessary troop protection and critical survivability capabilities essential to our current military operations.”

 

HURRICANE RELIEF

Surveying and Mapping for Marine Debris Removal - $20 million

Senator Shelby said, “The most important step of marine debris removal is surveying and mapping. To ensure the safety of our fishermen, we must first locate the debris so that it may be removed from the fishing grounds throughout the Gulf. This process will keep boats from colliding with hazardous items that may have been created by last year’s storms. It will also lower the risk of fisherman snagging debris, instead of catching fish, which could ruin their nets and damage other fishing gear.”

Oyster Bed and Shrimp Ground Reseeding, Rehabilitation, and Restoration - $128 million Senator Shelby said, “We must reseed and rehabilitate oyster beds, and clean-up and monitor shrimp grounds throughout the Gulf Coast region. The program will attempt to restore productive oyster reefs and shrimp grounds in areas that have experienced a loss due to environmental and harvesting factors. A resurgence of these habitats will also significantly impact the water quality and clarity in the region.”

Physical Oceanographic Real-Time Systems (PORTS) - $ 2 million

Senator Shelby said, “The PORTS systems monitor the water levels and currents to provide up-to-date information to commercial ships traveling in and out of ports and harbors for efficient and safe navigation. The data and information gathered by the PORTS systems can be accessed by ship captains and harbor pilots while navigating on approaches to the port and into the dock. The ports of Mobile, Pascagoula, Gulfport, and New Orleans will each receive $500,000 for the installation of a PORTS system. Maritime commerce transports 95% of all good in the United States so it is critical we equip our ports with the necessary tools to operate efficiently and effectively.”

Repair and Replace Tide Gauge Stations - $1 million

Senator Shelby said, “This funding will allow for the repair and replacement of tide gauge stations in the Gulf Coast region. Tide gauges measure daily water levels and are critical to measuring and predicting coastal flooding and dangerous storm surges that result from hurricanes. We must repair and replace these stations as tidal readings assist communities with evacuations and help save lives.”

Procurement, Acquisition and Construction - $ 12 million

Senator Shelby said, “This funding will be used to replace the aging emergency response mapping aircraft and sensor package which will allow NOAA to continue its capability to provide information about hurricane damage. This is a Citation aircraft that responds to national emergencies to acquire aerial data, images and elevation readings, of disaster areas to help emergency responders manage relief efforts and locate evacuees in need of assistance. NOAA’s current citation was the only plane authorized to acquire data over the World Trade Center and the Pentagon immediately after September 11, 2001. NOAA has only one of this type of plane, and these funds are only being used to replace this aging plane, not add to NOAA infrastructure.”