Murkowski Announces Funding for Alaska Projects in the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a member of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced subcommittee approval of a number of important projects for Alaska in the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill. Following today’s action by the subcommittee, the bill goes to the full Appropriations Committee for consideration.
“This bill provides important resources for fisheries research and management, extended continental shelf mapping and law enforcement,” Murkowski said. “I am pleased the subcommittee recognizes the crucial role that natural resources, especially fisheries, play in Alaska and has provided funding for these priorities.”
The bill provides funding for the following items important to Alaska:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
•     Bering Sea Crab Management and Research - $300,000
“The State of Alaska is delegated by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to manage these federal fisheries under the Fishery Management Plan to ensure effective long-term conservation and sustainable crab harvest,” Murkowski said. “Ongoing funding is needed to conduct biological research and stock surveys and to gather fishery information in the remote areas of the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea.”
•     U.S./Canada Yukon River Salmon Agreement Studies - $500,000
“Allocation of the allowable harvest of salmon between the United States and Canada, combined with concerns for conserving specific stocks in a fully developed mixed-stock fishery, poses serious challenges to fishery managers in Alaska,” Murkowski said.  “The projects supported through this appropriation provide quantitative measures of stock composition, abundance, escapement, stock distribution, and subsistence harvest.”
•     Seal and Steller Sea Lions Biological Research - $300,000
“These funds would allow for the monitoring of ice seal populations in Native villages and research on species delineation and the genetics of harbor seals,” Murkowski said. “This continued monitoring is necessary to gain a better understanding of the population declines and to provide for population restoration.  Declines in the abundance of these species has resulted in fisheries worth more than $1 billion in annual harvests being restricted or placed under scrutiny for their effects on these species.  The need for basic data on the four species of ice seals has increased substantially with the reduction of sea ice, which is the primary habitat of the species and the basis for a petition to list each of the species under the Endangered Species Act.”
•     University of Alaska, Fairbanks – Extended Continental Shelf Mapping - $300,000
“Nations and states have a right to claim an “extended continental shelf” based on the “natural prolongation” of the continental shelf beyond their present exclusive economic zone,” Murkowski said. “This funding would be used for the planning and engineering phase of a project to collect the bathymetric data necessary to support a U.S. claim.  The study would determine the most appropriate instruments to deploy to conduct the mapping and provide a cost estimate of the project.” 
•     Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund - $80,000,000
“Restoration and protection of Pacific salmon is vitally important to the economies of communities throughout the West, and in Alaska, in particular,” Murkowski said.  “Funding provided through the Pacific Salmon Recovery Fund is leveraged with state and local resources to initiate thousands of salmon restoration and conservation projects.”  
•     Authority for National Marine Fisheries Service to accept non-Federal funds
“The lack of adequate funding and staffing for the Minerals Management Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permitting and environmental analysis represents a significant bottleneck to energy development in Alaska, and may result in delays in the development of these resources, which are a critical component of America's domestic energy portfolio,” Murkowski said. “One way to help alleviate this problem would be to allow industry to pay for some of the environmental work required for development to move forward.”
•     Sexual Assault Response Team, Forensic Nursing - $200,000
“Sexual assault is a serious crime that occurs all too frequently,” Murkowski said. “This money would provide resources for the Municipality of Anchorage Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Center. Having sexual assault nurses who are trained in forensic medical evaluation is a key to ensuring that evidence is collected and maintained legally and that sexual assault victims are treated with compassion.”
•     Drug and Alcohol Interdiction, Rural Law Enforcement - $900,000
“This funding would support the Alaska Department of Public Safety's Rural Drug and Alcohol Interdiction project, which focuses on preventing the manufacturing and trafficking of illegal drugs and alcohol and reducing their availability in rural Alaska through aggressive enforcement and community policing efforts,” Murkowski said.  “These funds would also be used to continue the Department of Public Safety's efforts to provide law enforcement officers, including Village Public Safety Officers  and Village Police Officers, with basic and advanced training and emergency response and search and rescue equipment.”

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