March 10, 2005

Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill Passes Senate

Funding for several Idaho projects secured in bill

WASHINGTON, DC â?? Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo announced full Senate passage yesterday of the Fiscal Year 2004 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. The bill includes funding for several programs led by institutions in the State of Idaho, and a Craig amendment to aid in the reforestation of Afghanistan.â??These projects highlight the best of what Idaho has to offer our nation and our world and I am proud that we were able to secure the funding to help make that possible,â?? Senator Craig said. â??I am also pleased that the Senate accepted my amendment for $5 million to aid in the reforestation of Afghanistan. As the Chairman of Public Lands and Forestry Subcommittee, it saddens me to see the degradation that has occurred to the natural landscape of this country. Years of war and poverty have put a great strain on the ecosystems of this country. It is time to put an end to the denuding of the hillsides and turn them back to their brilliant shades of green.â??Senator Crapo said, â??The Senateâ??s passage of this legislation will help fund programs critical to preserving and protecting our national security interests in this ever-changing and difficult time. Idaho's underappreciated role in advancing international security and environmental initiatives is recognized. Programs and projects, including those in Idaho, funded through this bill will help promote peace and security through better analyses of threats throughout the world, better tools to implement our national interests overseas, and means to safeguard Americans everywhere.â??The bill includes:$5,000,000 for the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory to support Republic of Poland efforts to mitigate chemical contamination, improve safeguards for storage of nuclear materials, and enhance radiological detection capabilities.The Committeeâ??s endorsement of up to $1,000,000 for the establishment of a Pacific Rim Security Center at Idaho State University. The Pacific Rim Center would build upon current relationships with government officials in the Philippines and a leading university in South Korea to study the sociological, political and economic forces at work in the Pacific region. The purpose will be to thoroughly analyze these forces to predict high potential for terrorist fomentation and uprisings, and identify those activities that would most likely serve to prevent terrorist cell formation and function.$500,000 to support the The Peregrine Fundâ??s Neotropical Raptor Center in Panama. The Peregrine Fund, based in Boise, Idaho continues to build a world-renowned record of conserving endangered birds of prey and is best known for its efforts to recover the Peregrine Falcon in the Western United States. This amount will be matched through private sources.$5 million to further a reforestation program in Afghanistan by replenishing and rejuvenating the area, and to provide additional opportunities for recreation, wildlife, and business development. The intent of this provision is to use the expertise and skill of land grant universities, such as the University of Idaho, coupled with companies in the private sector to lend their assistance with both the development of the program and the reforestation of the country.The bill will now go to a House/Senate conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate passed bills.[30]