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The Commerce Blog

NIST Deploys Experts to Assist In California Fires

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File photo

The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has sent two experts to California to assist in collecting data on structural fire damage in the ongoing Los Angeles Basin fires, also known as the “Station” fire. This fire is a Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire, a type that is growing more prevalent as housing developments push into former wilderness areas. Fire researchers are working to understand WUI fire behavior and the effectiveness of current strategies for best reducing risks from such fires. (More)

Secretary Locke Discusses Goals for a Clean Energy Economy with Governors Granholm and Doyle

Locke and participants at clean energy forum. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Executive Director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers Ed Montgomery, and Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow joined Governors Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.) and Jim Doyle (D-Wisc.) in hosting a Clean Energy Economy Forum with local and regional stakeholders in Saginaw, Mich. The group discussed the administration’s vision for a comprehensive energy plan to jump-start the American clean energy sector and create millions of new jobs developing technologies that will cut pollution while producing alternative sources of energy. (More)

Secretary Locke Talks Health Insurance Reform with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC's "Closing Bell"

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CNBC Video

Secretary Gary Locke appeared on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” to talk about why health insurance reform is critical for American businesses. Continuing the discussion from his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last week, Locke stressed that the status quo will prevent companies from growing, result in more Americans losing their health coverage and cripple the U.S. economy in the long term. Rising health care costs have put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and contributed to flat wages, as more and more revenues are going toward the cost of health care. Reform is critical and will result in greater efficiency and smarter delivery of care, Locke said. (Video)

Secretary Locke to Participate in Americas Competitiveness Forum in Santiago, Chile

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Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced he will participate in the third annual Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) September 27-29, 2009, in Santiago, Chile. The ACF brings together representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss ways to spark innovation, create jobs, and expand trade among the countries of the hemisphere. The Commerce Department hosted the first two ACFs in Atlanta in 2007 and 2008. “I am looking forward to traveling to Chile to participate in the third Americas Competitiveness Forum,” Locke said. “Exports have always been crucial to American prosperity, and they have assumed an even greater significance in the current economic climate.” (More)

EDA Announces Ongoing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding to Create Jobs, Boost Development

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Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested $2.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to the Flagship Enterprise Center, Inc. and the city of Anderson, Ind.,(pictured here), to help build a business and industrial facility, which will house early-stage businesses that are working to establish themselves in the community. Other recent ARRA grants have been announced for Memphis, Tenn.; Spring Valley, Minn.; Tupelo, Miss.; Fosston, Minn.; Scottsburg, Ind. and Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska. (EDA Recovery Web site)

NOAA Report Explains Sea Level Anomaly this Summer Along U.S. Atlantic Coast

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Persistent winds and a weakened current in the Mid-Atlantic contributed to higher than normal sea levels along the Eastern Seaboard in June and July, according to a new technical report from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). After observing water levels six inches to two feet higher than originally predicted, NOAA scientists began analyzing data from select tide stations and buoys from Maine to Florida and found that a weakening of the Florida Current Transport—an oceanic current that feeds into the Gulf Stream—in addition to steady and persistent Northeast winds, contributed to this anomaly. (More)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on July 2009 Personal Income and Outlays

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The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for July 2009. Real personal spending increased 0.2 percent and personal income increased less than 0.1 percent, after decreasing 1.1 percent in June. “During the first half of the year, more than 95 percent of working families benefitted from tax relief under the Recovery Act, which has boosted Americans’ disposable income,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. “This increase has helped stabilize economic conditions in the wake of the worst economic environment in generations.” (Release)

NOAA Administrator to Lead U.S. Delegation to World Climate Conference-3

NOAA seal.

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator, will lead a U.S. delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, August 31- September 4 for the World Climate Conference-3 in efforts to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services. This framework is intended to help meet accelerating demands for useful information on the impacts of climate change.U.S. officials from more than 10 government agencies and departments will be actively engaged at the conference, learning from the international community and sharing American knowledge and innovations. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Over $11.9 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Create Jobs, Boost Development in Seven States

EDA seal.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced over $11.9 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to help seven states boost private investment and create new jobs. The grants will make water treatment facility upgrades in Kentucky; help build an access road to serve an industrial park in Minnesota; help make roadway updates to improve access to an industrial park in Illinois; help build water and sewer infrastructure needed to spur business development in Georgia; convert an existing building for use as a regional vocational training facility in Idaho; expand an existing dock and install a crane to boost the commercial fishing sector in Alaska, and extend an avenue and provide water infrastructure in Washington state.

Secretary Lock Gives Keynote at MED Week, Follows White House Event for National MED Week Awardees

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Secretary Gary Locke laid out the Obama Administration’s strategy to expand opportunities for minority businesses. In his keynote, Locke outlined how the President’s Recovery Act is giving businesses access to billions of dollars in loan guarantees, and how it seeks to reorient America’s energy policy towards providing new manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Locke called for reform of the healthcare system so that small- and medium-sized businesses can better afford health benefits for their workers. On Wednesday, Secretary Locke and Vice President Joe Biden congratulated the 2009 National Excellence in Minority Business Award Winners at a reception at the White House. (Remarks)