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Congress to fund Sequim-based coastal security research effort

SEQUIM, Wash.--A $4.2 million Congressional appropriation will fund a new coastal security program designed to develop advanced sensors capable of providing early warning of biological, chemical or nuclear material releases in marine and coastal environments. The research program will be based at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Sequim Marine Research Operations facility in Sequim, Wash.

The appropriation was secured with the help of Washington Congressman Norm Dicks, who discussed the new funding today during a visit to the PNNL Sequim research complex. The money is allocated to the Office of Naval Intelligence, and is part of a fast-growing coastal security research effort at the Sequim lab that is expected to bring increased federal funds and employment opportunities to the northern Olympic Peninsula over the next few years. The $4.2 million is for fiscal year 2005, and comes on top of a $1.7 million Congressional "earmark" secured this summer.

The newly-funded research program will involve laboratory work and field testing. It will draw on the scientific and technical experience and expertise the Sequim laboratory has developed for marine environmental issues over the last 40 years.

America's 95,000 miles of coastline is home to about two-thirds of the nation's population, as well as major industries, scenic and economically important natural resources, and some of the world's busiest maritime traffic. But America's coastal environment may be a target for terrorist activities as well.In recent testimony to Congress, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, noted that "our seaports offer access points for terrorists and their weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, to enter our country with relative ease." In the same hearing, Rear Admiral Larry Hereth, director of port security in the Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection Directo
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Contact: Greg Koller
greg.koller@pnl.gov
509-372-4864
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
23-Aug-2004


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