Shaheen Legislation to Bolster the Northern Border Regional Commission Clears Key Committee Hurdle

June 13, 2018

**Shaheen’s bipartisan bill would reauthorize the Northern Border Regional Commission for five years and expand its reach to additional counties in New Hampshire, including Cheshire and communities in Belknap**

(Washington, DC)— U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement after the 2018 Senate Farm Bill, legislation that authorizes federal programs related to agriculture, nutrition, conservation and forestry, passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with Shaheen’s provision to reauthorize and revamp the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). Shaheen’s legislation would extend authorization of the NBRC for five years and make additional reforms to encourage business retention and expansion in Northern New Hampshire and other distressed communities of the Northern Forest region. The NBRC reauthorization will be expanded to provide economic development to additional counties in New Hampshire, and will allow the NBRC to attract businesses from outside the United States as well as devote additional resources to encourage renewable energy development in the region.

Additionally, Shaheen’s legislation will improve the region’s capacity for high-impact community economic development projects. The reauthorization bill will establish a state capacity building grant program that will help develop projects that support business retention and expansion, access to high-speed broadband, critical infrastructure development, and job creation throughout the region.

“I’m glad to see this bipartisan legislation move forward, and I’m pleased that as a member of the Agriculture Committee, Senator Leahy was able to include my bill to bolster the Northern Border Regional Commission, which has provided significant support for New Hampshire communities and businesses,” said Shaheen. “Reauthorizing the commission and expanding its reach to include additional New Hampshire counties will create jobs and, through development projects, improve the quality of life in our communities. By increasing the commission’s scope, together as a region, we can help improve regional infrastructure while growing broadband access and economic opportunity. This program has made an enormous difference for Granite State families in Northern New Hampshire and the Northern Forest region, and I will continue to work across the aisle to ensure it passes the Senate and then becomes law.”

“The Northern Border Regional Commission was created to address the economic challenges faced by communities along the Northern Border, like those in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom,” said Leahy. “By infusing federal support into local and regional development plans, NBRC grants can effectively support the economic development of the community in a way that was planned by the community, which has a reverberating impact throughout the region.”

Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) introduced the Northern Regional Commission Reauthorization Act of 2017 in the House of Representatives. Senator Shaheen has long advocated for the NBRC, and introduced her bipartisan reauthorization legislation in March with Senators Leahy (D-VT), Collins (R-ME), Sanders (I-VT), Gillibrand (D-NY), King (I-ME) and Hassan (D-NH). As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen secured additional economic development funding for NBRC in 2018, including language ensuring that NBRC funds be directed to communities impacted by forest product plant closures.

The NBRC provides critical support throughout Northern New Hampshire and has funded grants that spur economic and community development in North Country. In 2016, the NBRC funded twelve grants totaling $1,550,000, including the New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development, Town of Northumberland, Town of Littleton, Grafton Regional Development Corporation, New England Ski Museum, Town of Ashland Water & Sewer Department, River Valley Community College, City of Berlin, University of New Hampshire, Soldier On, Tri-County CAP for Friendship House and Friends of Wentworth Park.