Oberstar, Brown Urge ‘Full Funding’ of HMEP

WASHINGTON — T&I Committee Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., and Rail Subcommittee Chairwoman Corrine Brown, D-Fla., wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to urge “full funding” of the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grant program at the $28.8 million authorization level.Among other things, the HMEP grant program helps governments develop and implement emergency plans and train fire fighters and other emergency personnel to respond to accidents and incidents involving hazardous materials. It has been projected that there will be a funding shortfall of $9.3 million in 2009.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of emergency response personnel will not receive adequate training for responding to serious releases of hazardous materials in fiscal year 2009.