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WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 17, 2003 -- U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today heralded the award of $19.8 million he secured for the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (New Mexico Tech) domestic counter-terrorism training program in Socorro.

The funding will go to New Mexico Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) to support courses to familiarize emergency response personnel with explosives and effective responses to emergencies involving explosives. The funding is provided through the Office of Domestic Preparedness within the Department of Homeland Security.

“New Mexico Tech remains one of the best institutions for research involving explosives and the deterrence of explosive attacks. With these homeland security funds it will be able to give more local responders the technical training they need to deal with incidents involving explosives,” Domenici said.

Domenici is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. The funding awarded to New Mexico Tech was provided through the FY2003 Domestic Preparedness Training and Technical Assistance Program.

The training programs supported by this grant will include interactive classroom instruction and practical field training. New Mexico Tech will train emergency responders in weapons of mass destruction training courses covering incident responses to terrorist or suicide bombings. Courses will also cover energy pipeline security.

New Mexico Tech prepares first responders such as firefighters, law enforcement, medical and other emergency personnel to respond to potential acts of terrorism, including chemical, biological and nuclear. The EMRTC has developed this training program in partnership with Science Applications International Corp.

Domenici will today take part in an effort to finalize the nearly $30 billion FY2004 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. House and Senate negotiators are near a final agreement on the bill that will provide new funding to support first responder training — like that which is provided by New Mexico Tech.