Domenici: NM Tech Counter-Terrorism Funding Sent to White House, Oct. 21, 1999

[Released by Sen. Pete Domenici's office]
CONTACT: Chris Gallegos
OCTOBER 21, 1999 (202) 224-7082

If you are a member of a local emergency response team (police, firefighter, etc. ) and you would like more information on training offered, please contact one of the following: dennis@emrtc.nmt.edu, eric@emrtc.nmt.edu, jcortez@@emrtc.nmt.edu, or fnorwood@emrtc.nmt.edu

WASHINGTON, D.C. Oct. 21, 1999 -- U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today confirmed that the Congress has completed and sent to the White House a funding bill that provides $3.5 million in FY 2000 for counter-terrorism training ongoing at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.

The U.S. Senate today gave approval to the FY 2000 Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations Bill, which now requires the president’s signature to become law.

Domenici, a member of the Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations Subcommittee, said the $39 billion bill also makes available $14 million for the Justice Department’s First Responder program, a national effort to train local emergency personnel to respond to potential acts of terrorism.

The funding would be evenly divided among the four members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, with New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center seeing a $500,000 increase over the $3 million provided in 1999.

“The World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings underscores a growing susceptibility to acts of terrorism on U.S. soil,” Domenici said. “The First Responders program represents a proactive approach to ready police officers, fire fighters and others who are first on the scene after such acts.”

New Mexico Tech works as a member of the consortium to prepare first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement, medical and other emergency personnel to respond to potential acts of terrorism, including chemical, biological and nuclear.

New Mexico Tech has trained some 460 firemen and policemen from throughout New Mexico, as well as Seattle, St. Louis, Chicago, Phoenix and Fairfax County, Virginia.

Consortium members are New Mexico Tech, the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at Texas A&M University, the Nevada Test Site, the National Bio-Medical Research and Training Center at Louisiana State University, and the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters at Fort McClellan, Alabama. The Justice Department formed the consortium in June 1998.

Overall, the FY 2000 Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Appropriations Bill provides $152 million for state and local agencies to improve readiness capabilities against weapons of mass destruction.

The Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 1996, commonly referred to as the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program, established a program to train and equip first responders and other public safety personnel in 120 major cities over five years. An expanded effort on domestic counter-terrorism is being funded through the Justice Department.

The New Mexico Tech counter-terrorism funding is provided within the statutory spending limitations enacted in the bipartisan balanced budget agreement reached between Congress and the president in 1997 and reaffirmed this year in the FY 2000 budget resolution.