Mar 10 2009

Shelby Announces Funding for Alabama Energy and Water Projects

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced Senate approval of several important projects in Alabama that are included in the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009.  Following today’s action by the Senate, this legislation will now go to the President for his signature.

“I am glad that Congress recognized the importance of these energy and water projects to the state of Alabama,” said Shelby.  “This legislation reflects our commitment to protecting the waterways and energy resources in our state and throughout the country.”

Tuscaloosa Army Corps of Engineers Office Relocation - $7.5 Million
The Corps’ office in Tuscaloosa is overcrowded and does not meet current safety standards.  This funding will allow the Corps to move the maintenance facility to an industrial area of Tuscaloosa where more space is available. 

“The Corps’ facilities in Tuscaloosa are inadequate, inefficient, out-dated, and fail to meet environmental and safety standards,” said Shelby.  “This new facility will allow the employees and the public to have a facility that meets workplace and environmental standards, while highlighting the value of Alabama’s thriving waterways by maintaining the Corps presence along the river.”

Mobile Harbor Turning Basin - $4.785 Million
The Alabama Port Authority will make improvements to the navigation system at the Mobile Harbor, including the construction of a turning basin and widening a section of the Mobile Harbor project. 

“The Port of Mobile is vital to the economy of the state of Alabama and the Gulf Coast region,” said Shelby.  “Alabama’s waterways are an integral component of our national inland waterway transportation system and an economic necessity for businesses that depend on the waterway’s infrastructure to transport their goods.  Improvements to the Port will spur international trade and economic opportunities in the region.”

Integrated Distribution Management System (IDMS) - $2.855 Million
The IDMS is projected to save customers between $12 million to $96 million annually due to power loss reductions. 

“The IDMS will integrate information systems that operate an electric distribution system, providing a significant increase in reliability,” said Shelby.  “In addition, the system will reduce power losses inherent in the system.  This funding is important given the ongoing efforts to ensure reliability across the power grid.”

Auburn University Alternative Fuel Source Study of Cement Kilns - $1.427 Million
During this phase of research, the Auburn and LaFarge North America team of researchers will integrate the burning process into existing kiln systems in Lafarge plants and work to maximize efficiency while minimizing waste and discharge. These efforts will support LaFarge’s efforts to find alternative fuel sources.

“Auburn University’s laboratories will continue to work in coordination with LaFarge North America to study the conversion of alternate fuel sources for cement production,” said Shelby.  “It is critical that our scientists work to decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign fuel sources.  This project is a perfect example of the private sector working with a public university to drive innovation in the industry.”

Pinhook Creek Flood Control Project - $335,000
A large portion of central Huntsville is currently in danger of major flooding.  This project will replace and expand the railroad bridge behind the Von Braun Center, make improvements to the channel, and construct a pedestrian bridge. 

“This area of Huntsville is critical to the overall economy of the city,” said Shelby.  “Many people spend a great deal of time visiting central Huntsville’s hotels and convention centers, shopping centers, and tourist attractions.  It is critical that we make the necessary changes to our infrastructure to prevent flooding and business disruption.”

Auburn University Bioenergy and Bioproducts Laboratory - $951,500
Auburn University will use this funding to create a bioenergy and bioproducts laboratory that will combine all segments of their research in one location.

“This new lab space will allow Auburn to conduct all of their bioenergy and bioproducts research, from feedstock production and processing to biofuel conversion, testing, and certification, all in one place,” said Shelby.  “This lab will allow researchers, faculty, and students to work together to develop innovative new ideas and improve the way we approach bioenergy production.”

Delta Regional Authority (DRA)   $13 Million
The Delta Regional Authority is a federal and state partnership that serves 240 counties in eight states, including 20 of Alabama’s most impoverished counties. 

“The Delta Regional Authority provides funding for transportation and infrastructure, as well as for economic development and skills training,” said Shelby.  “In the past, the Delta Regional Authority has assisted with significant improvements to the economy of West Alabama.  This funding will allow the DRA to continue its efforts to spur economic development throughout these underserved areas of Alabama.”

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)   $75 Million
Thirty-seven Alabama counties are included in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s funding area.

“The Appalachian Regional Commission is an important economic driver in Alabama,” said Shelby.  “This funding will allow the ARC to continue its efforts to improve economic development and increase infrastructure in Appalachia.”

Operation and Maintenance of America’s Waterways Projects  - $2.2 Billion
The legislation provides funds for a number of waterway projects important to Alabama.

“Alabama’s waterways play an integral role in many parts of the Alabama economy, ranging from transportation to recreation,” sad Shelby. “Without proper funding, however, the benefits of the waterways will be put in jeopardy.”

The bill provides funding for a number of Army Corps of Engineers projects in Alabama. These funds are provided for the Corps’ ongoing operation and maintenance activities on the waterways listed below:

Alabama River Lakes - $17 Million
Black Warrior- Tombigbee Waterway - $20.598 Million
Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, Alabama - $5.773 Million
Mobile Harbor - $20 Million
Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway - $20.884 Million
Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Wildlife Mitigation - $2.182 Million
Tennessee River Operations - $18.768 Million
West Point Dam and Lake, Alabama and Georgia - $6.912 Million

The following projects have been provided to the Corps for construction and major rehabilitation projects on the following waterways:

Chickamauga Lock, TN, Operations and Maintenance - $1.2 Million
Chickamauga Lock, TN, Continuation of Construction - $42 Million
Kentucky Lock and Dam, KY - $22.33 Million
Walter F. George Lock and Dam - $8.08 Million