Murkowski’s Committee Work Advances Alaska Fisheries, Safety Needs

Senator Adds Provisions in FY 2013 Appropriations Bill for Key Alaskan Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski secured provisions in the FY2013 Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) bill that will result in resources for Alaska through her position on the Senate CJS Appropriations Subcommittee.  The provisions secured by Murkowski cover the concerns of Alaskans from safe, sound fisheries to protecting Alaska’s most vulnerable populations statewide – whether from crime or tsunamis.

The bill passed out of subcommittee today and heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

“When we talk about investments in our natural resources, unless you are a coastal state you forget fisheries are a crucial natural asset and economic driver,” said Murkowski during the committee’s discussion of the budget. “We need to know and understand our fisheries through stock assessments, and this requires an investment even in tight and austere times.”

Alaska’s Fisheries and Coastal Communities benefit from:

  • $68.7 million for fishery stock assessment funding – to ensure the collection of adequate and timely fishery data.
  • $31.8 million for regional fishery management councils, which Senator Murkowski has called the “workhorses of the regulatory process for fisheries,” as they revise management plans to end overfishing and rebuild fish populations.
  • Coastal and marine spatial planning receiving no funding after Senator Murkowski ensured that federal monies will not be provided for the program.
  • $23.5 million was added to the bill for the U.S. Tsunami Warning System.
  • $27.5 million for ocean mapping efforts to make meaningful progress on the extensive survey backlog for areas off Alaska where marine charts are based on technologies as primitive as lead lines.
  • $65 million to support the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund for conservation of the region’s salmon populations.

Alaska’s Police/Justice concerns benefit from:

  • $61 million for youth mentoring programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs.
  • $247.5 million for the community oriented policing (COPS) program that boosts community law enforcement on the state, local and tribal levels.
  • $38 million for drug courts that provide rehab services and compliance checks of abusers.
  • A Government Accounting Office (GAO) study of Justice Department policies, particularly the payment of legal fees incurred by prosecutors charged with misconduct and the Justice Department’s track record in disciplining prosecutors who are found to have engaged in misconduct.
  • A commendation for Alaska’s effective sex offender crackdown through “Operation Last Frontier” – a partnership between the United States Marshal Service and Alaska State Troopers to combine law enforcement with community outreach.  It has resulted in over 500 compliance checks, including those in the most rural villages.