Feb 01 2005

WASHINGTON – On the heels of the Graniteville accident, one of the worst rail disasters in recent history, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today introduced bipartisan legislation dealing with the transportation of hazardous materials by rail and securing safe passage over rail crossings. Graham introduced the legislation with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). “South Carolina has learned all-too-well the dangers of railway accidents, particularly those involving toxic chemicals and freight,” said Graham. “This is an issue that needs to be addressed in a bipartisan manner and I’m pleased to work with my colleague on this endeavor. I look forwarded to working with all parties as we improve rail safety in our nation.” According to statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) website, 87 South Carolinians have lost their lives in the period January 1999 until October 2004 in rail accidents. Nationally, 4,689 people have lost their lives in rail accidents over the same period. Major provisions of the legislation include:
  • Raising the minimum fine for violations when transporting hazardous material from $550 to $5000 and raising the maximum fine for gross negligence from $27,500 to $2.5 million.
  • Requiring the FRA to conduct a one-year national review of rail infrastructure still using manual switches to determine areas where automatic switches should be installed.
  • Every fifteen years, each rail car must be taken out of use, inspected, and repaired to meet federal code and ensure its safety before being put back in use. All cars currently in use fifteen years or older must be inspected and brought up to code.
  • Requiring FRA to submit a report to Congress in the next year making recommendations as to the safe distance between cars transporting hazardous materials.
  • Requiring FRA to conduct a comprehensive safety review of all 250,000 rail crossings in the United States. FRA will also create a list of 10,000 crossings most in need of safety improvement and Congress will authorize funding to the states for upgrades.
  • Empowering state hazardous materials (HAZMAT) inspectors to take cars out of circulation when they deem it necessary.
  • Require railroad companies to submit a crossing malfunction report within 5 days to the FRA. Each additional day will result in a $5,000 fine.
“We must address the safety problems facing our national rail system,” said Graham. “My goal is to create a collaborative process working with the rail industry which allows us to learn from our mistakes, reduce future mishaps, and protect public safety. Our legislation focuses on improving railway crossings and track switching mechanisms, container design, and a variety of other issues important to the public.” “The winning combination will be a collaborative process between the government and industry that leads to safety improvements in an affordable manner,” said Graham. #####

Jan 31 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made the following statement on the elections in Iraq. "By any measure, the recent Iraqi election was historic. The successful election helps create momentum for positive change in the Middle East. “The big winner was the concept of democracy. The big loser was radical terrorists. Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's vision for Iraq was soundly defeated. “This election success was made possible by the sacrifices of American men and women in uniform along with our coalition partners. The Iraqi people have also shown bravery in the face of tyranny and have made a giant leap forward in securing their own freedom. “This election also serves as a reminder to Americans that democracy is something to be cherished.” #####

Jan 31 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Low Country Health Care System, Inc. in Fairfax will receive a $650,000 grant to assist in providing primary, obstetrical, gynecological, and other specialty healthcare services to the surrounding area. Low Country Health Care System also has clinics in Allendale, Barnwell, and Blackville. Community Health Center grants are designed to promote the development and operation of community-based primary health care service systems in medically underserved areas. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Jan 28 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Public Service Authority (SCPSA) has been awarded a grant for $1,979,507.25 to restore the Jeffries Hydroelectric Dam. Strong winds from Tropical Storm Gaston damaged the dam which is located on the southeast side of Lake Moultrie near Moncks Corner. The grant will provide for strengthening the 75-foot earthen dam with armored stone and fine filter aggregate. Five hundred feet of chain link fence will also be replaced. The total cost of this restoration project is $2,639.343. The total 75 percent federal share is $1,979,507.25. State and local governments will share the other 25 percent of the cost. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). #####

Jan 26 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Bolentown Volunteer Fire Department in Orangeburg will receive a $175,500 firefighting vehicle grant. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Jan 20 2005

WASHIINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on Strom Thurmond, Jr. Today is Thurmond's last day as the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina. “Strom Thurmond Jr. has been an outstanding U.S. Attorney for South Carolina. He’s been one of the best U.S. Attorney’s in our state’s history and deserves much credit for a job well-done. “Strom earned the admiration of career prosecutors and federal law enforcement officers by showing a maturity and understanding of the law that will be the standard for future office holders. “He more than answered his critics and leaves the office in great shape. He will be missed.” ####

Jan 20 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement: “Today is a chance for all of us to celebrate the fact we have a long-standing tradition of peaceful transfers of power. There are countless countries in the world that would dream of having a day like this. “In his second term, President Bush has a chance to take on domestic and foreign policy problems that will set the tone for this century. “Reforming Social Security is a big item on his agenda. The president is right when he says it’s a system in need of repair. It’s important we make the tough choices today to ensure Social Security is there for future generations of Americans. “The President is also right when he says that our security is also dependent on other parts of the world being free. We’ve seen from 9-11 that if you have regimes allowing terrorists to thrive, we will pay a price. Our goal in this century is to ensure liberty can be spread. Freedom around the world helps make us more secure. “This will be a bold second term by President Bush and I look forward to helping him strengthen America.” #####

Jan 19 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $340,000 in grants to fire departments in Gaston, Neeses, and St. Matthews. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The grants were awarded in one of two program areas:
  • Operations and Firefighter Safety Program: The funds may be used for training, wellness, and fitness programs; the purchase of firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and modifications to fire stations and facilities.
  • Firefighting Vehicle Acquisition Program: The funds may be used for the purchase of firefighting vehicles including pumpers, brush trucks, tankers, rescue vehicles, ambulances, quints, aerials, foam units, and fireboats.
The grants awarded include: Gaston Gaston Fire Department will receive a $13,950 Operations and Firefighter Safety Grant. Neeses Neeses Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $166,500 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. St. Matthews Belleville Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $162,000 Firefighting Vehicle Grant. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Jan 13 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Benedict College will receive a $95,000 University Center Program Grant to assist in economic development within predominantly minority communities. The funds will be used to provide technical assistance and applied research to minority owned businesses in Allendale, Bamberg, Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Hampton, Jasper, Lee, Marion, and Williamsburg counties. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, will be matched by a $95,000 contribution from Benedict College. ####

Jan 12 2005

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Columbia Fire Department will receive a $175,398 firefighting grant. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The Assistance to Firefighters Grant will help the fire department improve their training, wellness and fitness programs; purchase new firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and, make modifications to fire stations and facilities. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####