Tester announces funding for new Butte emergency operations center

(WASHINGTON, D.C) – The Mining City will receive a significant boost to help build a new emergency operations center, Senator Jon Tester announced today.

Tester requested $800,000 for the new facility in Butte as a member of the influential Senate Appropriations Committee.  The money will be included in the final version of the annual Homeland Security Appropriations Act.  Tester was chosen to negotiate a final version of the bill.  Negotiators agreed to include the funds for Butte this week.

Silver Bow County Commissioner Charlie O’Leary said Butte’s current emergency operations center—in the basement of the Silver Bow County Courthouse—is so cramped it “doesn’t meet the needs of our emergency operations.”

“This is an upgrade that we’re desperately in need of,” O’Leary said.  “It is very much appreciated, and it’s another improvement to our local infrastructure that we’d go without if it weren’t for the hard work of Senator Tester.”

Butte’s new emergency operations center will likely be built in a new location, with more space and better communication equipment.  Residents of Butte-Silver Bow are pitching in $500,000 of the total cost of the new facility.

“This will be a long-awaited and much needed investment in Butte and Silver Bow County,” said Tester, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.  “It’s funding that will put people to work and will make the entire region a safer place to live.”

The final Homeland Security Appropriations Act also contains $900,000 for a new emergency operations center in Whitefish.  The existing facility is considered “wholly inadequate” by Whitefish Mayor Mike Jenson.

The full Senate is expected to pass the final Homeland Security Appropriations Act in the coming weeks.  It will then go to the president to be signed into law.