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Murkowski: Congress Clears Yukon Salmon Disaster Relief Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The House has passed a 2010 supplemental appropriations bill that includes $5 million requested by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to help mitigate the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery failure. The bill now goes to the White House for President Obama's signature.

The $58.8 billion supplemental bill, which cleared the Senate in May, provides funding to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, replenish the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund and support efforts related to the Haiti earthquake.

The economic disaster assistance would help fishermen and communities affected by the fishery failure for the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery. In 2008, the commercial salmon harvest was 89 percent below the five-year average, and the fishery remained closed through 2009. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke declared a Yukon Chinook salmon fishery failure this past January due to a fishery resource disaster. The $5 million in funding is based on the estimated commercial fishing losses for the 2008 and 2009 fishing seasons.

"Low returns in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery have exacted a heavy toll on the communities that depend on this fishery for their livelihood, and I was pleased to be able to include $5 million in disaster assistance in the 2010 supplemental appropriations bill," said Murkowski, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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