Committee clears technology funding for Butte company to benefit emergency services

Measures will also take first steps toward wind energy development

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will help fund improved technology for emergency services and the Montana National Guard, and take the first steps toward more wind energy development in Montana, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act includes funding for Butte’s Rocky Mountain Supercomputer to develop more effective public safety technologies for trainings, planning, and information sharing.  The new systems would benefit the Montana Disaster and Emergency Services and the Montana National Guard.

Earl J. Dodd, Executive Director for the Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers, says the funding will strengthen public safety for all Montanans.

“The Supercomputer can do so many things to improve public safety, all-hazards preparedness and military readiness for Montana,” Dodd said. “We are grateful to Senator Tester and Senator Baucus for their hard work in securing this funding. We look forward to expanding our services to help even more communities use this state-of-the-art technology to better serve their citizens.”

The Appropriations Committee today also approved the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, which includes funding for Headwaters RC&D Area Inc. to purchase reusable towers and wind gauges to measure wind speeds across western Montana to determine the feasibility of future wind energy development

“Montana is home to some of the most innovative self-starters in the nation,” Tester said.  “This funding will be put to good use, helping put more cutting edge technologies in the hands of Montanans so we can build safer and cleaner communities.  It’s exactly the kind of project I’m proud to be fighting for.”

“These resources will go a long way toward making Montana a safer place for our families,” Baucus said.  “Investments in better technology and cleaner energy, keep our state a national leader in these industries, and also stand as an investment in future generations of Montanans.”

Under the current legislation, the Rocky Mountain Supercomputer would receive would receive $1.5 million to develop new public safety technologies.  Headwaters would receive $100,000 for wind energy development.  The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act, click HERE.

For a full list of funding for Montana under the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, click HERE.

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.