Senators Murray, Cantwell Applaud Emergency Preparedness Investment in the Lower Columbia

Competitive Port Security Grant Program award will help improve emergency response

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the announcement that the Maritime Fire & Safety Association (MFSA) will receive $272,888 to improve emergency preparedness along the Lower Columbia. The grant will support MFSA’s marine firefighting and oil spill response capabilities and will allow the Association to make critical enhancements to its emergency communication systems.

“I am so glad to see the Maritime Fire and Safety Association receive the support to make critical improvements to its security infrastructure,” said Senator Murray. “I am committed to ensuring these investments continue to be funded so that our state’s ports remain prepared for an emergency situation. Upgrading the emergency response capabilities of ports along the Lower Columbia means vastly improved safety and security for the region’s families and surrounding environment.”

“This grant is well-deserved, and comes at a critical time. Every day, two to three trains carrying crude oil roll along the banks of the Columbia River. The Maritime Fire and Safety Association plays an important role in responding to potential oil spill incidents.  I will continue to fight to ensure our first responders have the resources they need to protect our rivers and the residents living near them,” said Senator Cantwell.

The grant was awarded through the competitive Port Security Grant Program. Senator Murray led a Congressional letter of support along with Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) earlier this month, urging Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support MFSA. Senator Murray is a long-time leader in port security issues, authoring the SAFE Port Act which was signed into law in 2006.