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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) welcomed an announcement that the U.S. Navy has contracted with Environmental Chemical Corp., a Massachusetts-based firm, to begin structural repairs and modernization work at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY).  The $38 million contract will allow for energy and structural repairs to the consolidated submarine operations, Building 178, to create a state-of-the-art, energy efficient shipyard industrial material handling facility. 

Members of the Maine and New Hampshire delegations have strongly urged the Navy to develop a plan to fund infrastructure improvements at PNSY and the nation’s three other public shipyards.  The final version of the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act included a provision authored by Maine’s and New Hampshire’s Senators that requires the Navy to submit a plan to Congress no later than September 1, 2012.

“I am pleased the Navy is investing resources to ensure key facilities at Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are more efficient,” said Senator Snowe.  “This type of proactive commitment will further increase the value and efficiency of the shipyard, and will enable the outstanding men and women who work there to continue to set the gold standard in maintaining the nation’s submarines.”

“The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is vital to the region’s economy and our nation’s security. I am pleased the Navy has recognized the crucial work that the men and women of the shipyard do every day and has decided to invest in its infrastructure. This is an important step in equipping the shipyard with the resources it needs and I will work to ensure that these investments continue in the future," said Senator Shaheen, a member of the Armed Services Committee.

"This is good news for Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, whose workers set the standard for maintaining our nation's nuclear submarine fleet,” said Senator Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Subcommittee on Seapower.  “To maintain top-rate readiness levels for the U.S. Navy fleet, we must ensure our nation’s four public shipyards have top-rate facilities.  This contract announcement is an important step forward in addressing critical infrastructure and modernization needs at Portsmouth.”

In November 2010, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that found that the Navy's modernization requirements at our nation's four public shipyards were underestimated, even though the Navy has stated that the backlog of facility improvements at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is $513 million.  In March 2011, the Navy announced plans to invest approximately $100 million in facility upgrades and modernization at PNSY next year.  The funding, provided through the Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization (SRM) budget, is to be used for energy conservation and repairs to submarine enclosures, building renovations, repair to the waterfront support facility and structural repair and consolidation of the yard's workshops.