Senators: Montana to receive more than $9 million to beef up security

DHS money will fund training, protection, security

(BILLINGS, Mont.) – Montana will receive more than $9 million to beef up homeland security across the Big Sky State, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

This morning the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it will give Montana $9.47 million. The money is Montana’s share after Baucus and Tester passed a homeland security funding bill last month.

The funding for the 2009 Fiscal Year is significantly more than what Montana received last year. It will fund three specific initiatives in Montana:

  • The State Homeland Security Grant Program ($6.2 million—$300,000 more than last year): This funding is the foundation of Montana’s homeland security and disaster preparedness budget. Grants fund preparedness activities including planning, organization, new equipment, training and exercises.
  • Emergency Management Protection Grants ($2.87 million—$140,000 more than last year): Montana will use this money to coordinate and plan responses to natural and manmade hazards that threaten the security.
  • Buffer Zone Funding ($400,000—twice as much as last year): Buffer Zone Protection money provides grants to build security and decrease risk around critical infrastructure sites, such as chemical facilities, financial institutions, power plants and dams.

The money will go to Montana’s Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, which will determine where and how exactly to spend it.

“This is a big win for Montana, and it will go a long way in securing Montana and training the people who protect us,” Baucus said. “This funding will continue to strengthen Montana—the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family. That’s why Jon and I work fight hard to make sure Montana gets the resources it needs when it comes to homeland security.”

“This money will help us prepare for and respond to anything from a livestock disease outbreak or a flood,” said Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “Sometimes folks in Washington don’t always understand how significant these kinds of disasters can be in small communities, but that’s why Max and I fight so hard for Montana’s fair share of homeland security dollars.”

The homeland security appropriations bill was part of an overall funding measure that also gave all U.S. troops a 3.9 percent pay raise and raised the VA’s mileage reimbursement rate for disabled veterans to 41.5-cents per mile.