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Contact: Public Affairs Department, (202) 482-4085
Friday, September 28, 2012

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $8 Million to Seven States to Help Communities Recover from Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON - Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced $8 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants to Alaska, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont to help boost economic growth as communities recover from recent natural disasters.

"This $8 million in Economic Development Administration investments are examples of the Obama administration's commitment to helping communities impacted by natural disasters rebound and rebuild," said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. "The EDA grants announced today will help communities across the nation recover from flood damage and rebuild infrastructure that is crucial for strengthening their local economies and creating jobs."

The investments announced today include:

  • A $700,000 EDA investment in Mekoryuk, Alaska, to help the community build a facility to process reindeer meat and products. The project will help residents capitalize on the increasing demand for reindeer meat both nationally and internationally, and is expected to help create 50 jobs and generate $500,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

  • A $777,690 EDA investment in Crescent City, California, to help the community recover from tsunami damage by making critical infrastructure improvements needed to advance development of the downtown Harbor commercial site and attract new business and visitors to the city.

  • An $850,000 EDA investment in Santa Cruz, California, to assist the community in recovering from tsunami damage by helping create a master plan that will guide business development for the city's municipal wharf to increase the number of visitors to the region and attract more businesses.

  • A $350,000 EDA grant to Clearwater Economic Development Association, Inc., the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Panhandle Area Council in Idaho to help initiate a technical assistance and business opportunity development program. The program will build the capacity of the region to support business activity in the manufacturing sector and diversify the regional economy away from forestry and agricultural industries to ensure economic resilience and the ability to mitigate the effects of future disasters.

  • A $1.8 million EDA grant to the St. Mary Levee District (SMLD) and the Terrebonne Levee & Conservation District (TLCD) in Louisiana to help develop an infrastructure improvement plan focused on the Bayou Chene Flood Control project. The plan will guide efforts to improve the public infrastructure in the region in order to support and sustain a viable economy and environment; create and retain quality jobs and foster a more diversified economy; provide technical assistance in developing and funding coastal parish projects; and facilitate economic and community development in rural areas by providing technical assistance in rural initiatives.

  • A $1.7 million EDA grant in Brookings, Oregon, to help make critical water and sewer infrastructure improvements at Brookings Airport and an adjacent 20-acre site. The funds will support industrial development and prepare the airport, which lies outside of the Tsunami Inundation Zone, to handle additional volume in the instance of future natural disasters.

  • A $1.2 million EDA investment in San Angelo, Texas, to help build a regional fire training center that will increase the region's capacity to respond to wildfire events.

  • A $140,000 EDA grant in Waterbury, Vermont, to help the city hire a disaster recovery coordinator who will work to increase the capacity of the city to provide technical assistance to local businesses that were impacted by Tropical Storm Irene and help develop recovery and resiliency opportunities.

These projects are part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.

Within the context of the administration's National Disaster Recovery Framework (PDF) (NDRF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and the leveraging of existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.