U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R?Ala.), a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, announced conference committee approval of funding for several projects included in the fiscal year 2007 Homeland Security Appropriations bill. 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.
Maritime Patrol Aircraft -$ 148.116 Million
"The CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) provides the patrol and surveillance capability necessary to keep our coastal waters safe,” said Senator Shelby. “This legislation includes funding for the acquisition of three additional CN-235 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). In addition, funding was provided to allow the Coast Guard to missionize and outfit three previously acquired MPA to full 'mission ready' status. These aircraft are integral to the Coast Guard's mission and our national security."
In 2004, EADS (European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company) North America announced the expansion of operations to Mobile with a new EADS CASA facility. All training for the CN-235 will take place at the U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Air Training Center in Mobile.
Center For Domestic Preparedness ? $ 57 Million
"The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) at Ft. McClellan is the cornerstone of our nation's emergency responder training facilities and the $57 million provided in this bill will ensure that our nation’s first responders can continue to train at the only civilian live-agent facility in the country,” said Senator Shelby. “The funding in this legislation will allow CDP to maintain its training capacity for first responders so that we may respond to terrorist attacks quickly and effectively. These first responders include law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel who are trained by CDP to prevent and respond to incidents of terrorism."
"In addition to training our nation's local first responders, CDP works closely with a number of federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others to develop new integrated counter-terrorism training programs."
"Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country, the importance of first responders has become more evident. Ft. McClellan's Center for Domestic Preparedness provides the necessary training for professionals to rapidly respond and react to terrorist attacks or natural disasters," Senator Shelby concluded.
Noble Training Center - $ 5.5 Million
“It is critical that we learn from our experiences and prepare for emergency events,” said Senator Shelby. “As we continue to fight the War on Terror and ready the nation for a natural disaster, emergency training is critical for our healthcare professionals. Unfortunately, with emergencies come injuries, and our doctors and nurses must be prepared for any tragic event whether man made or natural disaster.”
The bill includes a provision to reorganizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency that transfers Noble Training Center to the Center for Domestic Preparedness. The Noble Training Center is the only hospital facility in the United States solely devoted to training healthcare professionals in the areas of disaster preparedness and response. The integration of these two training facilities will allow CDP to deliver a comprehensive medical curriculum to specifically address medical and public health preparedness and response. The transfer of Noble Training Center further cements the Center for Domestic Preparedness as the preeminent all-hazards preparedness and response training facility in the country allowing for seamless event response and medical evacuation and response training.
“Consolidation of Noble Training Hospital with the CDP means first responders will be able to experience a simulated real-life scenario during training. Currently, the CDP provides event site, command center and triage training that stops at the hospital doors. With the consolidation, CDP and Noble will be able to provide training for first responders from the site to admission and treatment at the hospital,” Senator Shelby concluded.
14 Mile CSX Railroad Bridge on the Mobile River - $ 7 Million
“Replacement of 14 Mile CSX Railroad Bridge will ensure safe marine navigation on the Mobile River, which is vital to maintaining the efficiency and reliability of waterways commerce through the Port of Mobile and along the Black Warrior?Tombigbee waterway system,” said Senator Shelby. “This legislation includes funding for the Coast Guard’s ongoing efforts to replace the bridge.”
"The replacement of the bridge will save shippers millions of dollars annually in lost time and accidents, and will greatly assist in the shipment of cargo moving through the Alabama State Docks," added Shelby.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) - $ 6 Million
“Having the necessary resources, knowledge and technology available to conduct a thorough investigation into child exploitation is essential to protecting our children,” said Senator Shelby. “This funding will assist NCMEC with their continued efforts to ensure our children's safety."
Firefighter Assistance Grants - $ 662 Million
“This legislation includes $662 million for Firefighter Assistance Grants,” said Senator Shelby. “These funds will assist local fire departments in their efforts to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire-related hazards, and to provide assistance for fire prevention programs."
These funds are administered by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Domestic Preparedness. Funds can be used for such things as fire operations, firefighter safety programs, emergency medical services, and firefighting vehicles.
Transportation Security Grants - $ 409 Million
“As we continue the War on Terror and the defense of our nation against terrorist attacks, it is imperative that we take nothing for granted and this funding will take significant steps to better secure our transportation infrastructure,” said Senator Shelby. “This legislation provides funding for rail and transit security grants, port security grants, inter-city bus security grants, and trucking industry security grants. I believe these funds are crucial in our efforts to improve homeland security. We have made great strides in improving our nation=s aviation security, but Americans deserve to have the government's full attention devoted to the security of every mode of transportation."
These funds will be administered by the Office of the State and Local Government Preparedness and Coordination within the Department of Homeland Security; $210 million will be used for port security grants, $175 million for rail and transit security grants, $12 million for inter-city bus security grants, and $12 million for trucking industry security grants.
Border Security Fencing Infrastructure and Technology - $ 1.188 Billion
“Our porous borders serve as a “welcome” sign to illegal immigrants and would-be terrorist,” said Senator Shelby. “We must continue to construct physical barriers and increase our ability to effectively control our border. Failure to do so puts our national security at risk. This legislation is further proof that Congress is committed to securing our borders and adding the necessary funds to properly carry out this goal.”
This legislation includes funding to further secure our borders with additional fencing and vehicle barriers. This funding will be used for the development of fencing, vehicles barriers, and virtual fencing and monitoring technology along the United States border.