Murkowski Fights For Alaska Basics in Appropriations Committee

Energy Costs, Water Needs Addressed

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Senator Lisa Murkowski successfully secured provisions in the FY2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would provide Alaskans relief against energy prices among the highest in the nation, and make crucial progress in giving rural Alaskans basic water and sanitation needs.  Murkowski also sought answers about the nutrition needs of military kids nationwide.

“I’m pleased my colleagues agreed to provide the bare essentials of water to drink and warmth during Alaska’s winters,” said Murkowski.  “If the government is going to prohibit us from developing our energy resources for self-sufficiency, the least the government can do is contribute to Alaskans’ rising costs and regulatory hurdles to heat our own homes.”

Key Alaskan needs addressed in the Agriculture Appropriations Bill include:

High Energy Cost Grant Program: $10 million – the amount Senator Murkowski requested for high energy cost grants – was included in the bill.  According to the Department of Agriculture, the 2012 bill benefitted the Tlingit Haida Regional Housing Authority, Gwitchyaa Zhee Utility Company and Alaska Village Initiatives.

Village Safe Water Grants: While Senator Murkowski worked with the Agriculture Committee leadership to reauthorize Alaska’s Village Safe Water grant eligibility in last week’s farm bill, she also ensured the Agriculture Appropriations bill included approximately $22 million for this needed work.

Base Housing Allowance Impacts on Youth Breakfast/Lunch: Murkowski secured a report to determine how many military families are being inadvertently disqualified for school food programs because the ‘total household income’ formula includes the base housing allowance.

This Agricultural Appropriations Bill passed out of Committee and now heads to the U.S. Senate floor.