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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Chet Edwards today announced that $21.5 million from the Department of Homeland Security will be made available September 30th for the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) at Texas A&M University. The funding was included under legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2004 for the Department of Homeland Security.

“Texas A&M is a national leader on homeland security research and training and this important funding is crucial for the safety of our citizens,” said Edwards. “There should be no greater priority of the federal government than to protect Americans here at home from the threat of terrorism.”

Police, firefighters, and EMS personnel come from across the country to receive first responder training at The National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) at Texas A&M. As he did again this year, Edwards worked with the Texas delegation in Congress in 2004, coordinating a bipartisan support letter signed by 22 members of the Texas delegation to the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Harold Rogers (KY-05) recommending needed increases for NERRTC after the Administration budget proposed that millions of dollars be cut from program. The NERRTC program is the Texas A&M system’s number one priority for federal funding.

“I was proud to work with members of the Texas delegation over the past two years on a bipartisan effort to ensure funds are made available for important homeland security projects at Texas A&M and around the country,” said Edwards, a member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. “The global war on terror demands that we act responsibly as a Congress to protect programs every year that protect Americans here at home.”

The NERRTC program is part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC), a partnership created in 1998 and made up of Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy. The NDPC was created to provide a focused, threat responsive, long term national capability for our emergency first responders.

Edwards, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee has played a key role in Congress overseeing key homeland defense programs to protect America against acts of terrorism and is a 1974 graduate of Texas A&M where he earned a degree in Economics.

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Kathy Fraser

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