Canton Repository

May 18, 2006

Regula reveals local grants

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON - An Alliance-based developer of fuel-cell technology, the Timken Co. and the city of Louisville would benefit from special federal funding included in a spending bill approved by a House committee Wednesday.

Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, arranged for the more than $5 million that would be used to pay for industrial research and continue a flood-protection project in Louisville within the congressional district Regula represents.

The funding for the local projects which some call earmarks and others describe as wasteful pork are within a $30 billion energy and water spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. That bill must win approval from the full House and Senate and get an OK from President Bush before the funding becomes final.

SOFCo-EFS Holdings, an Alliance-based fuel-cell developer, and its partner Rolls Royce Fuel Cell Systems would receive a $2.55 million federal grant to continue development of a fuel processor that proponents say would serve as a nonpolluting source of energy.

The companies received $3 million in federal funds to begin the project last year after Regula, a high-ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, included the money in spending legislation.

Timken, a specialty bearings and steel maker, has received $2 million a year for the project for the past three years.

The legislation also includes $1 million to improve a waste water treatment plant and sewage system in Louisville, continuing a project that received $1 million from the federal government last year, according to congressional staff.

Appropriations Committee officials said the energy and water bill contains $200 million, or 16 percent, less in earmarked funding than a similar bill last year.

Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to reform the earmarking process after revelations that defense contractors and lobbyists have paid lawmakers millions of dollars worth of bribes to secure government contracts or favorable treatment.