Lawmakers agree on bills

WASHINGTON — A Senate and House negotiating team that included Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has reached an agreement on a FY2010 spending measure that is important to Mississippi for its agriculture, rural development and child nutrition programs.

Cochran participated on the bicameral conference committee that today completed its work to reconcile differences in House and Senate-passed versions of the FY2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill (HR.2997).

The bill now requires final approval in the House and Senate before it can be sent to the White House.

Cochran reported the following funding highlights specifically for projects in Mississippi that are included in HR.2997:

• Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center, Stoneville – $4 million in USDA Agriculture Research Service funds to continue repairs and renovations to this Agriculture Research Service (ARS) facility, which was built in 1965

• National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi – $3.49 million for phase II construction and $1.6 million in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funds to support dietary supplements research

• Alcorn State University – $1.5 million in ARS funds for a facility to support research on applying advanced technologies to environmental and agriculture challenges

• Mississippi Valley State University – $1 million in USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funds to support curriculum development, university research, education and outreach programs

• University Center for Biomass-Based Energy, Mississippi State University – $839,000 in NIFA funding to support development of a plant-based gasification process to produce liquid fuel, a program that also involves the Oklahoma State University at Stillwater

• Genomics for Southern Crop Stress and Disease, Mississippi State University – $797,000 in NIFA funding to continue the study of crop genomics to improve agriculture production

Cochran was also among the negotiators who reached a final agreement on the FY2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill (HR.3183), a spending measure that is important to ongoing levee construction and maintenance in Mississippi.

The following are highlights of Mississippi projects funded in HR.3183:

• Mississippi River Levee Construction & Maintenance — $56 million for levee construction ($44.7 million) and maintenance ($11.3 million)

• Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway — $24 million for operation and maintenance, in addition to $2.5 million for wildlife mitigation activities

• Mississippi Water and Wastewater Projects — $10 million for water and wastewater projects authorized under the Water Resources Development Act/Section 592

• DeSoto County Regional Utility Authority — $8 million to support the DeSoto County regional wastewater system

Mississippi River Flood Control – More than $80 million directed to harbor and river projects

• Sustainable Energy Research Center, Mississippi State University — $10 million to support engineering and scientific research related to creating renewable transportation fuel industries

Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Richton — $25 million for engineering and site characterization

Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium, University of Mississippi — $1.2 million to continue development and deployment of an integrated multi-sensor station for continuous monitoring of hydrates and the gas hydrate stability zone in the Gulf of Mexico

• Nanostructured Materials for Improved Photovoltaics, University of Southern Mississippi — $1 million to develop photovoltaic devices for commercial renewable energy use

• High-Speed Wind Turbine Noise Model With Suppression, University of Mississippi — $1 million to investigate blade modifications to control wind turbine noise

• Appalachian Regional Commission — $76 million

• Delta Regional Authority — $13 million

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