WASHINGTON , D.C.U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-WV, announced Thursday that a HouseSenate Conference Committee has approved $104 million that he added to an appropriations bill, including $2.5 million for the planned Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Center at West Virginia University.
“The PET scanner provides medical specialists at West Virginia University (WVU) unique insights into the internal changes that a patient may experience in the course of a disease.By using this cutting-edge technology, doctors are able to go beyond the traditional methods of evaluating symptoms or abnormalities and better plan, with their patients, the course of treatment for an illness,”Byrd explained, noting that he added the initial $10 million in funding for the PET scanner in a 1991 appropriations bill.
“This funding would help to make the PET scanner’s resources more accessible to doctors and patients throughout the country,”Byrd explained.
According to WVU ’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, studies on five high-incidence diseases (breast, colorectal, and lung cancers, heart disease, and epilepsy) have demonstrated that both significant clinical benefits and cost savings could be expected with the use of PET due to the elimination of over 370,000 unneeded, expensive, and invasive procedures annually.
“By investing in modern medical technologies and training more doctors in the use of those technologies, patients are saved significant costs and inconvenient, unnecessary surgery,”Byrd said.
In addition to the PET Center funding, Byrd won conference committee support for a number of other infrastructure and flood prevention initiatives in West Virginia.
“I won conference committee approval of $11 million to help complete the North Fork of the Hughes River Watershed project as originally envisioned, including water tanks and waterline extensions from the water treatment plant, which is currently under construction,”Byrd explained, noting that the extensions are planned for areas of Harrisville, Pennsboro, Ellenboro-Lamberton, and Cairo.
“When it is complete, this important treatment facility will provide a source of drinking water in an area of Ritchie County where such service has been unreliable, and where economic growth has been stymied because the availability of water supply has been uncertain,”Byrd said.
In addition to the waterlines and tanks, funds will also be used for a list of utility requirements associated with the project and other planned related facilities.
This funding is the latest of Byrd’s efforts to support the North Fork of the Hughes River Watershed Project initiative.Between 1992 and 1994, Senator Byrd added $31 million in federal funding to appropriations bills for construction of the flood-protection and water supply dam and reservoir.Court challenges that had delayed the project were resolved in January 1999 when the Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the final appeal of the plaintiffs, clearing the way for construction.The water treatment plant is slated for completion later this year, with dam completion scheduled for December of 2001.
Continuing his commitment to worker safety and to the development of innovative, environmentally friendly technologies, Byrd won conference committee approval of $52.6 million that he obtained for research programs primarily administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory located in Morgantown and Pittsburgh.
“The funding that I have obtained in this appropriations bill will, among other goals, advance research into new ways to reduce risks to workers involved in environmental contamination clean up,”Byrd said.
“Investing in new energy technologies is critical.But it is just as critical to find ways to put these technologies into use throughout the world.This legislation contains my initiative to establish an interagency working group to examine ways to advance market opportunities for the export and deployment of clean energy technologies, including clean coal innovations,”Byrd stated.
“American-made technologies can help to reduce pollution around the world,”Byrd said.