Murkowski Announces Interior Funding Bill Approved by Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a member of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that the full Senate has approved funding for a number of important projects for Alaska in the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of the Interior and Environment appropriations bill. Following today’s action, the Senate bill must be reconciled with a House version of the bill in a joint conference committee, of which Sen. Murkowski has been named a member.

“This bill includes resources for key programs and projects in Alaska,” said Murkowski. “I am pleased to see that the Senate recognizes the importance of these projects, specifically rural water and waste water projects and provides the funds to move them forward.”

The bill provides funding for the following Alaska items:

Water and Sewer

• Alaska Native Villages (Village Safe Water) water infrastructure program - $15 million.

• City of Soldotna for a water and wastewater improvement project - $500,000. The water improvements include modification of the existing well and well house, piping and equipment improvements, installation of an on-site chlorine generator, building improvements and a control systems upgrade.

• City of Buckland for construction of a piped water and sewer system - $500,000. This is a multi-phased project, including a lagoon, water plant, water storage tank, a river intake, raw water line, underground circulating water mains and gravity sewer system with three lift stations.

• City of Kodiak for water and sewer improvements - $300,000. Funds will be used to replace water lines, reroute several existing storm drains and connect the City’s water treatment facility with downtown.

• City of Homer for planning and design of a new drinking water system - $500,000. Population growth and increased tourism within Homer have strained the existing water system. Funding will assist Homer to develop a new water source to augment its existing reservoir.

• Municipality of Skagway for a wastewater treatment facility expansion project - $300,000. Skagway’s current facility is unable to handle the demands being placed on it during the summer season by visitors. Funds would be used to improve wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Fish and Wildlife Service – Land Acquisition

• Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge – $300,000.

• Togiak National Wildlife Refuge - $325,000.

• Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge - $365,000.

National Park Service – Construction

• Katmai National Park and Reserve - $6.4 million. Funds will go to replace failing infrastructure at the Brooks Camp.

Indian Health Service

• Significantly increased funding to support the day to day operations of the Alaska Native Health System through a $104.4 million increase in contract support costs accounts. Alaska shares in this increase with tribally operated health facilities in other states.

• Funding to continue ongoing Indian health construction projects as proposed by the President’s budget. The President’s budget request included $15.2 million to continue work on the replacement of the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow, Alaska.

Forest Service

• Tongass Timber Sale Preparation - $2.5 million. This funding will ensure a viable timber sale program by preparing a number of 10-year timber sales.

• Successfully restored language in the appropriations bill that requires the U.S. Forest Service to offer profitable tracts of red cedar timber to Alaska mill operators for sales and that requires that Alaska and West Coast sawmills be given the first right to process the timber, in order to keep jobs in the United States.

Management of National Forest Lands for Subsistence Activities

• State of Alaska - $2.6 million.

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