Mar 10 2009

Shelby Announces Funding for East 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 Senate approval for a number of important projects in East Alabama included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009.  Following today’s action by the Senate, this bill will go to the President for his signature.

“This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation,” said Shelby.  “The Senate’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.  

Center for Aquatic Resource Management - $1.5 Million
This Center creates a partnership between Auburn University and state and federal agencies to develop and implement sustainable practices to protect and restore Alabama’s aquatic resources.  Funded in previous years to develop the Center, this year’s funding will allow Auburn University to complete construction of the facility.  Tools developed in the Center will be used throughout the Southeast and abroad to manage other aquatic resource problems. 

“Aquaculture and recreational fisheries contribute $1.5 billion to Alabama’s economy,” said Shelby.  “As demands on our water resources grow, it is critical that we have a solid understanding of our aquaculture, fisheries management, water quality management, and the ability to work with endangered aquatic species.  This research will be integral to sustaining and maximizing the use of our natural resources.”

Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) - $550 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. 

•Goodwater Police Department Enhancements - $50,000
•Law Enforcement Technology, Gadsden - $250,000
•City of Auburn Mobile Data System - $75,000
•Calhoun County Mobile Data System, Calhoun County Sheriff - $350,000
•To Enhance Law Enforcement Capability for the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center - $350,000

“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 to meet an ever-increasing range of challenges. The $550 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.”  

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs - $374 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:

•Cherokee County Family Resource Center - $100,000
•TuskMac CDC - $100,000
•Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center - $500,000
•American Village – Building Good Citizens through Character/Civic Education and Outreach for At-Risk Kids - $400,000
•Girl Scouts Beyond Bars - $1 Million
•Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation - $1 Million
•Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind At-Risk Youth Mentoring Program - $150,000

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

Zerometh-Alabama’s Methamphetamine Campaign - $1.5 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.

“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 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program - $456 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:

•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) - $700,000

“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.”

Auburn University Novel Polymeric Materials and Structure - $1 Million
Auburn University will use these funds for equipment and personnel to research and develop new products for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.  These products include polymers that can mimic natural tissue for medical implants and drug delivery, and antimicrobial coatings that can be used to enhance homeland security.

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:

Economic Development Administration - $273 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) - $153 Million
EPSCoR works with targeted states to help them become more competitive and improve the level of science education. 

“The bill provides EPSCoR with $153 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.” 

DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding - $176 Million
$151 million for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Grant Program
$25 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 $151 million specifically designated for the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Grant Program,” said Shelby.  “Also included is $25 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants. State and local forensics labs use these grants to address a variety of needs within the forensic sciences community.”

Play by the Rules National Project - $350,000
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.”