To improve local efforts to respond to hazardous materials incidents, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced this week that it will award $32.4 million in grants to states, territories, and Tribes.
A total of 81 grants will be split between six different hazardous material safety grant programs. It’s a significant increase from last year, when 71 grants were doled out for a total of $28.7 million in aid to updating or developing emergency response plans, commodity flow studies, and training emergency responders.
“First responders are at the forefront of community and environmental safety,” said Tristan Brown, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) deputy administrator. “These grants will provide local emergency responders with the necessary training and resources they need to respond to hazardous materials transportation incidents.”
This year’s priorities focused on underserved communities and helping them to prepare for hazardous materials transportation emergencies, from community response to law enforcement training. Specifically, the six benefiting programs include:
- $24.2 million for Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grants for states, territories, and tribes to build up emergency plans and first-responder hazardous materials training
- $3.8 million in Hazardous Materials Instructor Training grants for the training of hazardous materials instructors to train employees
- $1.7 million in Supplemental Public Sector Training grants for non-profit organizations that train instructors who in turn conduct first responder trainings
- $1.2 million in Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training grants to train volunteer or remote emergency responders for incidents involving hazardous materials shipments by rail
- $1 million in Community Safety grants to enhance capabilities of communities to respond to hazardous materials emergencies and training both state and local enforcement personnel responsible for enforcing the safe transport of hazardous materials.
- $414,000 in Hazardous Materials State Inspection grants to cover costs for state-run hazardous materials shipper inspections, including personnel, travel, equipment, supplies, and training for hazardous materials inspectors
The decision on the grants’ allocation followed outreach to communities and local emergency planning committees, as well as a three-day Hazardous Materials Grant Conference in Virginia that gathered representatives from every state and five U.S. territories.