Senate panel advances funding for better public safety near Yellowstone Park

Measure will help create emergency operations center in Cooke City

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will improve public safety near one of Montana’s biggest destinations, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Act contains funding to help Park County build an emergency operations center in Cooke City, near the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone National Park

Under the current legislation, Park County would receive $129,000 to build the new emergency operations center in Cooke City.  The building will house law-enforcement officers and other emergency responders and will provide space for training, meetings and equipment storage.

“This is an important, long-term investment that will mean a safer Park County for the folks who live there, and for the folks who visit,” said Tester.  “The resources we invest in Montana’s law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders will go a long way in keeping folks who live in and visit Big Sky Country safe.”

“This is welcome news to make Park County a safer place to live for Montanans, and a safer place to visit for tourists,” said Baucus.  “This is about making sure emergency responders can communicate better and work together.  I’m proud of this funding and I look forward to going to bat for it as it makes its way through Congress.”

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, click HERE.  The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.