Murkowski: Critical Alaska Projects in 2012 Interior Bill

Senator Spotlights Alaska Priorities in Bill

Washington, DC – A number of key projects and priorities for Alaska are contained within the final draft of the 2012 Senate Interior Appropriations bill, made public today.  Senator Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Republican on the Committee today made the following statement:

“Today, Chairman Reed and I released a draft version of the Senate Interior bill to the public on the Senate Committee on Appropriations website,” Murkowski said. “This is a very important piece of legislation for the State of Alaska, since the Department funds the four major federal land management agencies in our state – as well as critical agencies that provide services to Alaska Natives. This will serve as a starting point for negotiations with the House on its version of the bill.”

Some of the important items for Alaska that are included within the Senate Interior bill are:

1) Restoration of a $12.5 million cut (43%) to the Alaska Conveyance program, back to its current level of $29.1 million.  This program is critical to finally giving the State, Native Corporations, and private citizens final title to lands selected under the Statehood Act.

2) Full funding of $62.1 million for the completion of the Indian Health Services hospital in Barrow.

3) $10 million for the EPA's Alaska Native Villages program which provides grants for critical wastewater and drinking water infrastructure for Native Alaskans.

4)  The bill also retains language to help foster the offering of economic timber sales on the Tongass National Forest to help maintain the economy in Southeast Alaska.

Senator Murkowski looks forward to moving the bill into conference with the House of Representatives and finalizing this critical piece of legislation.