Congressman Carney releases list of projects to be considered for funding
U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-10, has recommended several local projects to the House Appropriations Committee as worthy of funding in fiscal year 2011.
There is no guarantee, however, that money will be earmarked for any of these projects. If the committee provides money for the local projects, nearly $7 million would come to non-profit organizations in Mount Carmel, Mount Carmel Township and Coal Township, and $6 million to Northumberland County government.
Keystone Energy Technology Enterprise Center (KETEC), of Mount Carmel, would be granted $1 million for the acquisition and rehabilitation of a former cigar factory in the borough to become the headquarters of the organization.
"We're very excited about being put on the list," said Katherine Jaeger, KETEC projects coordinator.
Carney was only able to recommend one-third of the projects that were proposed, which made the process far more competitive, said Jaeger.
Although the projects will compete against a multitude of others from around the nation, Jaeger is confident the KETEC project will be seriously considered.
"There's a big return on investment," she said. "They will get more money for their dollar spent at KETEC because our project is meant to bring the whole region forward in an economic perspective rather than just our own little area."
In Carney's list on his Web site, his explanation for the request echoed her words.
"Using an environmentally conscious agenda for growth, KETEC will create 1,500 or more green jobs through renewable/alternative energy industry clusters to revitalize the Pennsylvania anthracite corridor, reclaim and reuse the waste products of fossil production to improve the region's environmental quality and help the U.S. move toward energy independence and targeted CO2 emission reduction."
Jaeger said KETEC officials hope the organization is also on the list submitted by Sen. Bob Casey, but he has not yet released that information.
"If both (Casey and Carney) push us forward, we stand a better chance," said Jaeger.
KETEC, Carney added, "is ready to begin incubating companies," which relates to another project on the list.
SEDA Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) Joint Rail Authority, of Lewisburg, would be allocated $985,000, which would fund the SEEDCO South Rail Facilities in the Mount Carmel Township portion of the Coal Township-SEEDCO Industrial Park.
The project would construct rail sidings directly off the active SEDA-COG-owned short line, Shamokin Valley Railroad. The sidings would serve Intelliwatt, which would receive wood chips by rail. Intelliwatt, who recently secured a $4.9 million state loan to build its 13-megawatt biomass energy facility on 22 acres of land in the park, will use recycled wood pallets and clean wood chips as a fuel source to generate electricity. The electricity will be sold through the PJM electricity grid, which serves Pennsylvania and 12 other states.
The final local project, the wastewater treatment facility upgrade for the Shamokin-Coal Township Joint Sewer Authority, could be granted $5 million.
The authority met with representatives of Carney and state Rep. Robert E. Belfanti Jr., D-107, in January to request assistance in funding their $80 million project.
In his explanation, Carney said the project would "construct a new five-million gallon wastewater facilities to comply with DEP/EPA (Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency); biological nutrient reduction for Chesapeake Bay water quality improvement and implement approved local sewage facilities plan requirement."
Phil Zalar, chairman of the authority, was unavailable for comment Friday.
The deadline to submit projects was in February. Funded projects will be announced by the end of 2010. All projects are supposed to be non-profit.
The Northumberland County Public Safety department would receive $6 million for a high-band project, which would replace all current towers that need to be replaced, update all existing 911 center consoles and radio operations, all radio equipment in the county EMA/911 vehicles and all radio receivers, transmitters and antennas, etc., replace mobile radios in police, fire and EMS apparatus and provide portable radios with funding to police and fire EMS stations. Improvements would comply with federal regulations to move off low band to high band.
Also recommended by Carney for funding projects are World Impact Harmony Heart in Scott Township, several projects from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, several projects from Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Valley Township Sewage Capacity Project in Danville, Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, SUN Home Health Services in Northumberland, Buffalo Valley Rail Trail in Lewisburg, HandUP Foundation Home Sweet Home in Milton, roadway improvements in East Buffalo Township, the Riverfront Improvement Project in Sunbury, Spruce Street Project in Danville, the Milton Wastewater to Energy Project by the Milton Regional Sewer Authority and an Electronic Intensive Care Unit Telemedicine Project by the Geisinger Health Systems in Danville.