Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), today announced subcommittee approval of a number of important projects in the Birmingham area included in the fiscal year 2008 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill. Following today's action by the subcommittee, the bill will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
"This legislation includes a number of important projects in Alabama and across the nation," said Shelby. "The subcommittee's action on this bill reiterates our commitment to funding these projects and advancing important nationwide initiatives."
The 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.
"Our bill strikes an important balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, terrorism, research and strengthening US competitiveness through investment in science," said Shelby. "Specifically, our bill includes $209 million for DNA and other forensic sciences, including $151 million for reducing the DNA backlog and an additional $40 million for Paul Coverdell Forensic Grants. It restores funding for important law enforcement programs. The bill includes $1.4 billion for State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance, of which $660 million is designated for Byrne Justice Assistance Grants, $550 million for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), $340 million for Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $85 million for Methamphetamine Enforcement programs, $65 million for Missing Children programs and $390 million for Violence Against Women programs. In addition, the bill includes $282.8 million for EDA, $4.2 billion for NOAA and $17.4 billion for NASA."
Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program (LPRP)- $278.2 Million The Program Management Office for NASA's Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program 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 a total of $278.2 million for LPRP, of which $48.7 million will be for the Lunar Lander mission and another $20 million will be for the program management office 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 course of action when returning to the Moon," said Shelby. "The President, Congress, and the scientific community have repeatedly pointed out the importance of a robotic lunar lander as a precursor to manned flights to the Moon. I am glad the bill recognizes this need and Marshall's role in accomplishing it."
Space Shuttle - $4.008 Billion "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."
Marshall Space Flight Center Crew Launch Vehicle - $1.225 Billion "The bill provides $1.225 billion for the Crew Launch Vehicle, based at Marshall Space Flight Center, which will allow for the development of our next generation of manned spacecraft," said Shelby. "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."
National Center for Explosives Training and Research - $35 Million This facility will provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) a post-blast research and training facility at Redstone Arsenal. This addition will compliment the FBI's Hazardous Devices School, as well as NASA's research expertise.
"This legislation provides $35 million for the completion of a permanent site for the National Explosives Training and Research Facility," said Shelby. "This training facility will provide federal, state and local law enforcement one-stop training for explosives. The co-location of these agencies will create a training and research component at Redstone that exists no where else in the world."
Geospatial Data Analysis Center at Alabama A&M University - $500,000 This project will allow Alabama A&M to expand the number of weather stations across the state and increase their ability to fully evaluate the impact of weather on our soil and its ability to maintain agricultural capabilities.
"Alabama A&M is working to provide farmers, policy makers and the public with important information about local weather conditions," said Shelby. "Farmers will use this information to determine the best time to plant and harvest crops. Like wise, emergency managers will have a much clearer picture of ground level weather conditions through the real-time data supplied by the grid of stations."
UAH Remote Sensing Center - $1.2 Million This funding will allow for the continued development of a NOAA Cooperative Institute for Remote Sensing Applications at UAH. The Institute will serve to advance knowledge and understanding of the environment using information technologies and both ground and space-based remote sensing systems.
"UAH and its researchers have developed a unique and state-of-the-art capability in the compilation and evaluation of remote sensing data to answer environmental questions," said Shelby. "The volume of information available on our climate and atmosphere is staggering, but too often the data is not used or used improperly because researchers do not have access to integrated data or the user tools to evaluate it. This Institute will seek to solve the knowledge deficit and ensure that policy makers and researchers have the information necessary to make sound decisions based on the most accurate data."
Tornado and Hurricane Hazards Operations Center (THOR) - $1 Million The Center will seek to improve detection, tracking and forecasting of tornadic thunderstorms and land-falling hurricanes in the Southeast. The Center is a cooperative effort between UAH, the University of South Alabama, the NOAA Severe Storm Laboratory and the NOAA Hurricane Research Division.
"The southeastern United States is particularly prone to violent and catastrophic weather conditions created by both severe thunderstorms 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."
Advanced Space Propulsion Material Research and Technology Center - $750,000 The Advanced Space Propulsion Materials Research Center at the Alabama A&M University Research Institute will create a comprehensive, diverse and flexible pool of talent at lower labor rates to facilitate research and development, studies and analyses of higher temperature advanced materials research.
"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."
Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking System - $2 Million This program will 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. This will lead to a dramatic increase in rendezvous and docking missions, many of which will be un-crewed. This funding will develop a prototype to fulfill NASA's need to have an operational autonomous rendezvous and docking system."
Space Nuclear Power Systems - $2.15 Million 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 order to support sustained missions to the moon, Mars and beyond," said Shelby. "In order 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."
Sensor Applications for Non-Destructive Evaluation - $1.5 Million 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. "The Sensor Applications for Non-Destructive Evaluation will provide new capabilities that will result in significant design understanding and safety improvements for NASA's materials development on the Space Shuttle and Ares program."
Level 4 Data Center Prototype - $1.25 Million This Center will provide a secure and retrievable storage solution for Marshall's Data Center that will meet all Presidential Directives.
"Marshall Space Flight Center currently has no secure off-site storage for its critical data, as required by Presidential Directive," said Shelby. "This funding will allow Marshall to determine a procedure for prioritizing data and provide a survey of possible locations. Marshall will improve its data storage to meet security requirements set forth by the federal government."
Composite Material Research for Space Exploration - $2 Million The Composite Material Research program will assist Marshal 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."
Advanced High Temperature Materials Research - $1.5 Million This funding will be used for research coordinated between Southern Research Institute and Marshall Space Flight Center. Researchers will develop modeling, testing and characterization techniques for advanced composite materials in extreme environments.
"The environments that will be encountered in planned launch systems and other aerospace applications require the use of advanced composites in both structural and thermal protection systems," said Shelby. "The successful utilization of these materials in these types of environments requires testing and evaluations to keep pace with the increasingly severe environments in which they are used. This funding will identify gaps in current technology and develop applications to solve these challenges, reducing the overall risk to the programs."
Methane Fuels for In-Space Propulsion Activities - $2 Million This program at UAH will research the ignition and combustion characteristics of methane with liquid oxygen to assure realization of high performance and stable combustion in liquid rocket engines.
"Methane is currently under consideration by NASA as a key energy source for propulsion systems in its plans to return to the moon. However, it is imperative that the full performance potential of this fuel be realized for NASA to achieve its goals. The Methane Fuels for In-Space Propulsion Activities will research the fundamental insight of the combustion behavior of this fuel with liquid oxygen to realize its full performance potential."
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 and highlights 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 its exhibits."
Radially Segmented Launch Vehicle (RSLV) LOX/Methane Technology Maturation - $500,000 These funds will support the ongoing technology maturation program for liquid oxygen / liquid methane propulsion technology at Marshall Space Flight Center.
"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. "A partnership between Marshall Space Flight Center and the Air Force Research Laboratories will allow us to capitalize upon the ongoing RSLV risk reduction activity by utilizing the existing hardware in place at Marshall."
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 bolsters forensic capabilities and advance the practice of community policing nationwide. The following grants will assist state and local law enforcement in their ability to protect and serve their communities. The following projects were included in the Senate bill:
Athens Police Department for mobile data units- $250,000 University of North Alabama Criminal Justice Outreach Initiatives- $350,000 City of Huntsville interoperability for local law enforcement- $1,000,000
"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 $550 million provided in the bill will allow police and sheriff's 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 - $660 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 project was included in the Senate bill:
City of Madison's domestic violence program-$250,000
"I support Byrne grants because they give control directly to our crime fighters," said Shelby. "I firmly believe that those individuals serving on the front lines of our communities each day know best what their departments need to successfully do their jobs. We must ensure that our local law enforcement have the necessary resources to keep Alabama safe."
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 2008:
Alabama Statewide Mapping and Height Modernization Project - $800,000 The state will use this funding to continue to plan and produce a high resolution and large scale geospatial database of Alabama.
"Accurate, high resolution Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of Alabama will allow state and local agencies to develop better master plans for the area and, more importantly, prepare for emergencies within the state," said Shelby. "The project will allow emergency managers and community planners to utilize the most up-to-date maps available when developing evacuation plans, traffic patterns, or community development."
Alabama Drought Research Study - $800,000 This study is developing methods for industry, agriculture, municipalities and other users of surface water to store and access Alabama's water resources for the best economic benefit.
"While Alabama has been blessed with an abundance of water resources, we have all seen during this summer's drought that those sources are not unlimited or constant," said Shelby. "Many of Alabama's research universities, led by researchers at UAH and Auburn, are studying a variety of methods and plans that will allow government, industry and farmers the ability to capture and retain water resources when they are abundant in order to insulate the state from the impacts of catastrophic drought. Considering our current severe drought status, I cannot think of a more appropriate project."
Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center PREPARE Program - $1.25 Million The Planned Response Emergency Portal and Accessible Response Environment program will work to establish, develop and operate a center and system for the interstate and intrastate (PREPARE) accumulation, storage, retrieval, analysis and dissemination of vital information relating to crimes, criminals and criminal activity for the justice community.
"The integrated technology the PREPARE program provides will improve police officer response times, safety, and access to court data," said Shelby. "The program will also improve the foundation for partner agencies to share information to better track and manage offenders, respond to incidents and support mutual aid organizations at local, state and national levels.
Alabama Drug and Gang Prevention and Prosecution Program - $4 Million The program will seek to more comprehensively assault the growing drug problem in Alabama and its connections to gang activity through coordination between the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Prosecution Services.
"Increased drug use and gang activity are an alarming trend," said Shelby. "Through prosecuting gang and drug offenders, this program will deter Alabamians who may be considering joining a gang or participating in drug trafficking."
Alabama Computer Forensics Laboratory - $1 Million The Alabama District Attorneys Association has developed three regional computer forensics laboratories to investigate and prosecute all forms of computer crimes such as child pornography and solicitation, white collar crime and identity theft. The labs are also used to search for evidence many other cases, educating officers in the preservation of digital evidence and educate the public on internet safety.
"As technology expands, unfortunately, so do criminals," said Shelby. "Thousands of crimes are committed over the internet each day. As such, our law enforcement must have the needed technology to track down and prosecute offenders."
Community of Prevention and Intervention - $250,000 Community of Prevention Intervention (COPI) is a new and innovative Web-based e-Prevention initiative the Alabama Council on Substance Abuse-National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Montgomery has undertaken. The program is a cost effective approach to illegal drug demand reduction, and a holistic continuum of substance abuse prevention and intervention for youth.
"The COPI program works with youth both over the internet and with local support to prevent and stop substance abuse," said Shelby. "Youth who abuse drugs and alcohol early in life face a tough road. Effective programs that help juveniles stop their drug use or prevent them from ever starting are invaluable."
Electronic Training and Security Tools - $1.25 Million The Electronic Training and Security Tools (ETASA) project will continue an effort to develop interactive computer-based training for the Alabama Department of Corrections to satisfy requirements for new and recurring training. The project will also convert paper architecture drawings into electronic images for the development of three-dimensional situational awareness and training for crisis response teams.
"ETAST will enable the Department of Corrections to provide training more efficiently and effectively," said Shelby, "This project also will help increase the safety of both officers and inmates at Alabama's prisons."
Play by the Rules: Laws for Youth - $200,000 Play by the Rules has provided students in Alabama with a better understanding of the laws that govern society. Phase II of the program will be an effort to expand the program to other states.
"Research shows that law-related education can have a direct impact on a youth's decisions to commit a crime when put in at-risk situations," said Shelby. "I hope that Play by the Rules can have the same impact across the country as it has had here in Alabama."
A Child is Missing- Alabama (ACIM-AL) - $200,000 A Child is Missing works to assist all the law enforcement agencies in the State of Alabama find both missing children and the elderly. The program is available free of charge to all the law enforcement agencies, large and small, in Alabama. The funding will be used for maintaining and upgrading ACIM-AL's telephony technology, satellite mapping system and their call lists.
"Too often, families are put through the fear and torment of having a family member go missing," said Shelby. "ACIM provides law enforcement with a resource to quickly contact thousands of nearby residents and provide information by phone, email or fax about a missing child or elderly person, so that they can be found and returned to their family."
The following nationwide projects and programs are slated to receive funds in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008:
SEXUAL OFFENDER ELIMINATION PROGRAMS - $64.2 million
Federal Bureau of Investigation Innocent Images Program - $9.2 Million These funds will provide enhanced capabilities for the Innocent Images Internet Crimes Against Children program and the Innocence Lost program which focus on the transportation of children for prostitution and other crimes.
"I have repeatedly said that if someone was able to buy heroin over the internet with their credit card, people would be appalled," said Shelby. "The acts of child pornography and child prostitution are much worse and we must do everything we can to stop these horrendous actions."
Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program - $ 55 Million Child Sexual Predator Elimination Grant Program is a new national initiative that will provide grants to state and local governments to locate, arrest and prosecute sexual predators. These grants, distributed by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will enable state and local law enforcement entities to specifically focus on sexual predators who fail to register, sex offenders who prey upon children and those who engage in child sexual exploitation.
"It is our obligation to protect our children against these crimes," said Shelby. "We must provide the necessary resources to protect our most vulnerable citizens- children- so they will not fall victim to this despicable act. I have long supported efforts to protect our children and strongly believe that this funding will go a long way to aid in the eradication of these horrible crimes."
DNA Initiative and Forensic Sciences Funding - $209 Million
$169 million for DNA initiative
$40 million for Coverdell 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 $169 million specifically designated for the DNA initiative," said Shelby. "Also included is $40 million for the Paul Coverdell Forensics 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."
Missing and Exploited Children Programs - $65 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
$15 Million to combat internet crimes against children
$3 Million for the Missing Children Office within the Department of Justice
$9 Million for the AMBER alert program
$3 Million for management and administration
"Statistics show that nearly 2,000 children are reported missing each day," said Shelby. "It is my hope that this funding will help continue the important work being done to locate these children and return them to their loved ones. Likewise, 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."
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs - $ 340 Million The bill provides funding for important at-risk youth programs and research. These 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.
"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."
Methamphetamine Enforcement and Clean-up - $80 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.
"Our bill includes $80 million for state and local law enforcement officials to combat methamphetamine production and distribution," said Shelby. "This program will also work to target drug hot spots and to remove and dispose of hazardous materials at clandestine methamphetamine labs."
Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth Initiative - $5 Million Big Brothers/Big Sisters is comprised of over 450 local agencies, eight of which are in Alabama, serving youth between the ages of five and eighteen. They serve over 225,000 children nationwide in community, school and site-based mentoring programs to provide children with meaningful, mentor relationships.
"Our bill includes $5 million for the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Quality Growth Initiative," said Shelby. "This nationwide program will continue Big Brothers/Big Sisters' record of commitment to ensure that at-risk children have caring adults in their lives."
National Fatherhood Initiative - $1 Million The main goal of this program is to operate several specialized National Fatherhood Initiative programs that work specifically to get fathers more engaged in the lives of their children. These programs are specialized for different audiences of fathers of the most "at risk" children.
"Unfortunately, the lack of involvement of a parent in a child's life has a direct impact on the likelihood that a youth will be involved in at-risk behavior," said Shelby. "The Fatherhood Initiative's goal is to provide programs and information that will encourage fathers to become more involved in their children's lives."
Boys and Girls Club - $60 Million The Boys and Girls Club of America has been in place since 1906 and holds a charter from Congress.
"Our bill includes $60 million for Boys and Girls Clubs of America," said Shelby. "This important program provides a supportive and safe environment for our nation's youth to learn and grow."
Regional Information Sharing System - $60 Million The Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program is composed of six regional centers that share intelligence and coordinate efforts against criminal networks that operate in many locations across jurisdictional lines.
"Typical targets of RISS activities are drug trafficking, terrorism, violent crime, cybercrime, gang activity and organized criminal activities," said Shelby. "It is critical that law enforcement agencies across the region have access to the most up to date information to fight these crimes."
Pegasus Program - $12 Million Pegasus allows local law enforcement and first responders across the country to integrate criminal information databases.
"These databases will efficiently provide criminal information, particularly helpful to rural law enforcement with limited financial and technological resources," said Shelby. "It is my hope that this expedient sharing of information will help local law enforcement agencies solve crimes and keep criminals off our streets."
Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) - $130 Million EPSCoR works with targeted states to help them become more competitive and improve the level of science education.
"The funding provided will assist states within EPSCoR to establish partnerships with government, higher education and industry that provide lasting improvements in their research infrastructure," said Shelby. "Science is a rapidly expanding discipline that can lead to high technology and well paying jobs. As such, students with a solid science education will be armed with the tools for success later in life."
Hollings' Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program - $110 Million This program assists small and mid-sized American manufacturers in modernizing their company so that they can compete in the global marketplace.
"The Hollings' Manufacturing Extension Partnership program continues to be a success story in modernization," said Shelby. "The program partners federal, state, public and private entities to bring companies up to speed with the global economy."
Economic Development Administration - $282.8 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 trade adjustment assistance."
JASON Project - $1 Million The JASON Project provides educational and professional development programs geared at engaging students in science, math and technology. Students participating in the JASON Project are given opportunities to participate in authentic, multidisciplinary research directed by leading scientists. For educators, online professional development courses in science, math and literacy teach them the tools needed to present these subjects to their students in an engaging manner.
"The bill includes $1 million for the JASON Project," said Shelby. "These funds will be used to help introduce innovative instructional approaches and improve student and teacher learning outcomes in the fields of math and science in classrooms across the country."