A STORY OF RECOVERY FROM THE ALABAMA TORNADOES
(Extensions of Remarks - August 03, 2012)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1433-E1434]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             A STORY OF RECOVERY FROM THE ALABAMA TORNADOES

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. SPENCER BACHUS

                               of alabama

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, August 2, 2012

  Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, the State of Alabama will never forget the 
devastating tornadoes of April 27, 2011.
  But the story that has been told since that destructive day is an 
inspiring one of personal resilience and a resolve to rebuild 
neighborhoods and communities.
  A critical factor has been the commitment that employers have made to 
their communities.
  After a natural disaster of this scale, there is always a choice to 
confront: rebuild or relocate?
  An important part of the economic recovery efforts in Jefferson 
County was the decision made by Cliffs Natural Resources to rebuild its 
Oak Grove Mine and Concord Preparation Plant and remain as a strong 
presence in Alabama.
  The tornadoes caused significant damage to the mine preparation plant 
and overland conveyor system at the coal facility, an employer of more 
than 500 workers in the western portion of Jefferson County. It also 
disrupted the transportation system that Cliffs and other companies 
rely on to receive and move materials.
  Most critically, and thankfully, all employees were accounted for 
after the storms and no one was reported as injured.
  Even before the full magnitude of the recovery challenge facing 
Alabama became clear, company officials were already thinking about how 
quickly they could begin to resume operations. It soon became evident 
that this would entail the plant providing its own power and even 
building a new road. The company's management and workers were 
undeterred.
  In spite of many daunting challenges, underground mining was 
restarted within two weeks. Within eight months, coal was again being 
processed to meet our nation's energy demands.
  While planning for the long-term work needed for full capacity, the 
company responded to the emergency needs of the ravaged communities 
around it. Cliff's donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross and 
another $60,000 to organizations serving storm victims in the immediate 
area.
  The Oak Grove operations marked a significant milestone on May 16, 
2012 with a ceremony that highlighted the rebuilding of the Concord 
Prep Plant. This engineering and construction achievement represented a 
$52 million investment and was accompanied by an additional $30 million 
investment in a new, LEED-certified mine portal facility.
  In all, Cliffs invested $120 million towards its Alabama operations 
and preserved more than 500 jobs during a year when our state needed it 
the most. It is a tale of resilience, determination, and a strong work 
ethic that stands out as my state continues its recovery from the 
historic storms.

[[Page E1434]]



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