U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today applauded Senate passage of the Fiscal Year 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations conference report that includes significant funding for Tennessee’s energy and water priorities. The funding will support facilities and research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) in addition to flood control and economic development taking place along Tennessee’s waterways and in the state’s rural communities. The Senate passed the conference report last night by a vote of 84 to 4.
“This legislation supports critical research, national security demands, and economic development projects across Tennessee,” Frist said. “The work taking place at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and at Y-12 will keep our nation on the cutting edge of science and technology as well as improve our national security. Tennessee’s waterways and rural development districts provide thorough fares for commerce that keep Tennessee’s economic future bright. Senator Alexander and I will continue to promote scientific advancement and economic development in Tennessee and around the country.”
“This is good news for important projects across Tennessee,” Alexander said. “World-class research at Oak Ridge makes energy safer and the products we buy better. It creates jobs and moves scientific frontiers to our door steps. Army Corps efforts keep communities safe from flooding and maintain recreation and commerce on our rivers, lakes and streams. I will continue to work with Senator Frist to provide federal support for these critical local efforts.”
Tennessee Projects funded in the legislation include:
OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY (ORNL)
· $30 million increase above the President’s budget request for the Center for Computational Sciences. Funds will be used to acquire additional hardware to support the Leadership Class Computational Facility.
· $156.7 million for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), including $41.7 million for construction, $106.9 million for operations and $8.1 million for instruments. Upon completion, SNS will be the most powerful research facility of its kind, providing researchers an opportunity to study basic and applied research, as well as develop technology in the fields of condensed matter physics, materials sciences, magnetic materials, polymers, chemistry, biology, earth sciences and engineering.
· $290.5 million to support domestic fusion research. Programs at ORNL will be among the primary beneficiaries of this funding.
· $3 million increase for Thermal Insulation and Building Materials.
· $1 million increase for Advanced Combustion R&D, Emission Control.
· $2 million for the VULCAN Beam Line, which supports advanced engineering and materials research.
· $1 million for the High Temperature Materials Laboratory. The conference report also funds continued accelerated cleanup activities.
Y-12 NATIONAL SECURITY COMPLEX (Y-12)
· $60 million increase above the budget request to support enhanced safeguards and security.
· $40 million increase above the budget request to modernize operations and facilities.
· $11 million increase for the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) materials facility.
· $9.74 million for Compressed Air Upgrades, $7.7 million for the Beryllium Capability project, and $729,000 for the steam plant life extension project at Y-12.
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
· $10 million for the Chickamauga Lock and Dam to construct a new 110 x 600 foot replacement lock. Although construction funding for the lock was not included in the President’s budget request, both chambers provided $10 million for the project in their original versions of the fiscal year 2006 appropriations measure. The conference report also includes $2.43 million to support the operation and maintenance of the existing lock.
· $3.5 million for the Wolf River Ecosystem Restoration Project in Memphis to address erosion damage and a severe headcut along the Wolf River. Funds will be used to construct weirs that will help to prevent flooding and erosion that is damaging to private property and wildlife habitat.
· $490,000 for the Northwest Tennessee Regional Harbor at Cates Landing in Lake County. The project, which is funded through the Section 107 program, was not included in the budget request, and these additional funds will support local efforts to stimulate economic growth and bring new jobs to the region.
· $486,000 to perform maintenance dredging at the Wolf River Harbor to insure that the harbor remains open and fully operational. This represents a significant increase over the amount that was included in the budget request, which was only $23,000.
· $470,000 for the Nonconnah Creek project in Memphis to support flood control and environmental preservation activities. The Nonconnah Creek provides flood control for approximately half of the City of Memphis.
· $305,000 for the Mt. Moriah Culvert project in Memphis to address severe erosion problems. These funds will support the final phase of construction needed to complete the project.
· $150,000 to initiate the Memphis Metro Area Stormwater Management Study, which will evaluate the need for improvements for flood control, ecosystem restoration, and water quality throughout a five county region.
· $200,000 for the Memphis Riverfront Development study, which will support efforts by the Memphis Riverfront Development Corporation and city officials to redesign the Memphis riverfront.
· $250,000 for the West Tennessee Tributaries project to support a demonstration project along the Obion River system to address conservation concerns in West Tennessee. No funding for this project was included in the budget request.
· $225,000 for the Mill Creek project. Mill Creek is a major tributary of the Cumberland River in southeastern Davidson County and northwestern Williamson County. Funds will support a feasibility study to address flooding problems.
· $50,000 for the Sandy Creek project in Jackson. Funds will be used to determine how to best address severe flooding in commercial and industrial areas along Sandy Creek, which is a tributary of the South Fork of the Forked Deer River.
· $500,000 for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis to support a nuclear chemistry laboratory dedicated to producing tracers for specific anti-cancer agents. St. Jude’s, recognized throughout the world as the leading children’s research hospital, provides cutting edge medical research and treatment for children regardless of their ability to pay.
· $4.46 million for the University Research Program in Robotics, and $3.5 million for the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research. Both programs support ongoing research activities at the University of Tennessee.
· $12 million for the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). DRA helps economically distressed communities in eight states including Tennessee to leverage additional federal and state resources to improve basic infrastructure, transportation, business development, and job training services.
· $66 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), which is composed of counties throughout 13 states including Tennessee. ARC’s mission is to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life for the people of Appalachia.
The conference report, which has already passed the House, must now be signed by the President before it becomes law.