$4 Million Will Help Keep Nevadans Safe from Hazardous Materials
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has secured $4 million in the national budget for an important Homeland Security project designed to protect Americans from hazardous materials. The money will help build the Hazmat Emergency Response Operations and Information Center (HEROIC) in Southern Nevada. HEROIC will track the 800,000 daily truck shipments of hazardous materials in America, and coordinate emergency responses in case of an accidental spill or a terrorist attack.
“This is such a valuable addition to our Homeland Security,” said Reid. “Right now we have dangerous materials traveling across our country with no contingency plans for an emergency. HEROIC will give us the information we need to manage a chemical spill and keep people safe.”
HEROIC is a public-private partnership of the federal government, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and QUALCOMM Incorporated. The program will use satellite technology to track hazardous waste shipments as they travel around the U.S.
The same satellite equipment will help emergency responders and nearby law enforcement officers get the information they need if there is an accident or an attack. HEROIC will be able to give all national, state, and local authorities immediate information about a truck’s locations and contents, as well as any special handling instructions for cleaning up a spill.
“Right now, we notify local law officers if hazardous material spills on a highway – but that’s all we do,” said Reid. “I’ve talked to sheriffs in Nevada who say they don’t know why we bother to announce spills, since they don’t have the equipment to clean them up and wouldn’t know how to handle it anyway. With HEROIC, they’ll immediately be linked to people who can help – to experts who understand the nature of the specific chemicals in question. We’ll be able to contain spills fast, before they become disasters.”
Reid won $2 million for HEROIC in last year’s budget. He set aside $4 million in this year’s Homeland Security Appropriations Bill to continue developing the project. The Homeland Security Appropriations Bill has passed a Senate Committee, and now goes before the full Senate for approval.