Jan 16 2014
Several of the Senator?s priorities are part of FY 2014 Omnibus Bill, including creating new jobs, increasing Chemical Safety Board funding and boosting fossil energy research and development
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Jay Rockefeller today hailed passage of a broad spending package for Fiscal Year 2014 that will create jobs and boost economic development in West Virginia, and rolls back some of the harmful cuts implemented as part of the sequester.
“No bill is ever perfect, but today’s funding package puts in place a number of provisions that are crucial to West Virginia, including projects in Clarksburg and Hazelton that will create jobs; and the National Energy Technology Laboratory that will help secure a future for clean coal research. Perhaps most important, it halts many of the sequester’s arbitrary and painful cuts to programs that so many in West Virginia rely on,” Rockefeller said. “I’m particularly grateful to my colleagues for acting on my request to expand the Chemical Safety Board’s budget for 2014. In the aftermath of the devastating chemical spill last week at Freedom Industries in Charleston, we are depending on this agency to help us get to the root cause of the spill.”
“This deal sends a strong signal to West Virginia and the rest of the country that Congress can get back to doing the work our constituents elect us to do ,” Rockefeller added.
Rockefeller oversaw the inclusion of several meaningful funding provisions that will benefit West Virginians including:
- Increased funding for the Chemical Safety Board. At Rockefeller’s urgent
request, the bill included an increased funding level CSB to provide sufficient resources for its operations in the wake of the Freedom Industries spill. The $11 million will allow CSB to carry out their full investigation into the spill, which Rockefeller successfully urged them to pursue.
- A significant boost for fossil energy development. Rockefeller successfully prevented drastic funding reduction to the Fossil Energy Research and Development program, which would have cut 240 National Energy Technology Laboratory jobs and slowed down clean coal technology.
- Measures to protect and create jobs. Rockefeller was able to secure a $60 million investment for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Justice Information Systems Division in Clarksburg, which will add approximately 300 new jobs at the facility to expand the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Funding for the ongoing activation of the new Federal Correction Institution in Hazelton, which supports 300 new jobs, was also included in the bill at Rockefeller’s strong urging. The Senator was also able to protect jobs at: the NASA Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Center in Fairmont; the Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County; the U.S. Customs and Border Control’s Advanced Training Center in Harpers Ferry; the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center in Falling Waters; and the Coast Guard Operations Systems Center in Keaneysville.
- Support for science, math, and engineering students.Senator Rockefeller in 2002 legislation created the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which gives scholarships to math, engineering and science college students who become elementary or secondary teachers in science or math for several years. The program received $60.9 million this year and has led to more than 12,000 new teachers nationwide since its inception. West Virginia University was awarded a grant to launch a scholarship program in 2008.
- Improving the science used in forensic science. Senator Rockefeller has been a longtime champion of improving the science and standards of forensics. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) received $5 million for advancing forensic science and participating in the National Commission on Forensic Science, which was called for in a provision of Rockefeller’s proposed ‘Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2012’. Dr. Suzanne Bell, a professor in forensic and analytical chemistry at West Virginia University, was recently appointed to the Commission.
- Increased funding for pipeline safety – Provides funding for 10 additional pipeline safety inspectors and an additional $5 million for research and development of pipeline safety technologies, such as devices to inspect older pipelines. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Rockefeller held a January 2013 field hearing in the wake of the Sissonville, WV pipeline explosion, where the urgent need for more pipeline safety inspectors at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) was raised.
- Increased funding for rail safety operations – Enables the hiring of 15 additional safety inspectors at the Federal Railroad Administration, who are much-needed in light of recent freight accidents.
- Support for science, math, and engineering students. Senator Rockefeller in 2002 legislation created the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, which gives scholarships to math, engineering and science college students who become elementary or secondary teachers in science or math for several years. The program received $60.9 million. West Virginia University was awarded a grant to launch a scholarship program in 2008.