Langevin Announces Federal Funds to Protect Sensitive Areas

Mar 3, 2005

(Washington, D.C.)–Congressman Jim Langevin, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, today announced that Rhode Island has been awarded $450,000 from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to protect areas in the general vicinity of ‘critical infrastructure and key resource sites.’ The federal funds were made available under the Buffer Zone Protection Program.

According to DHS, the Buffer Zone Protection Program provides both funding and coordination in bringing federal, state and local levels of government, law enforcement and the private sector together to create Buffer Zone Plans to reduce vulnerabilities in areas surrounding critical infrastructure and key resources. The Buffer Zone Protection Program (BZPP) provides targeted funding through states to local jurisdictions to purchase equipment that will extend the zone of protection beyond the gates of these critical facilities.

“These federal funds will enable our state’s Emergency Management Agency to identify and better secure Rhode Island’s most sensitive areas,” said Congressman Langevin. “Our greatest weapon against domestic threats is preparedness. Thanks to these federal funds, Rhode Island has access to additional resources to strengthen our state's homeland security efforts."

Under this new grant program, DHS reports that states will be expected to submit Buffer Zone Plans (BZPs) and equipment purchasing plans to DHS by the end of April 2005, allowing the Department's Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) to perform a financial and programmatic review while the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) directorate performs a technical review and final approval of the plan. Following approval of the plans, local jurisdictions may use their approved funding to purchase any equipment found on ODP's Approved Equipment List and identified in their purchasing plan.

“While I am pleased the Department of Homeland Security has awarded these funds to better secure our state's sensitive areas, the Administration continues to ignore many urgent needs of our first responders,” added Langevin. “I am hopeful that we will see an increased commitment from the Administration to providing the interoperable communications, equipment, overtime pay and other resources necessary to ensuring that the brave men and women on the front lines of domestic preparedness can do their jobs safely and effectively."

The $450,000 Rhode Island award is part of $91.3 million that was made available nationwide.