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Interior Appropriations Bill Marked-Up; Contains Important Alaska Provisions

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations finished marking up the FY 2012 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, yesterday evening.  Included in the final legislation passed out of the committee is a provision, requested by Alaskan Congressman Don Young, which would forbid the National Parks Service from enforcing regulations on waters in Alaska's Yukon-Charley National Preserve.

"The Interior Appropriations Committee has put together a good piece of legislation which seeks to curb regulations, cut spending, and will greatly benefit Alaska," said Rep. Young.  "I am very pleased that my colleagues were able to see the glaring overreach by the Park Service in Yukon-Charley.  The inclusion of my request (to forbid NPS enforcement on the Yukon River) is important to preserving the freedoms of Alaskans, and to protecting ANILCA.  This legislation also includes many important provisions that will encourage commerce and development in Alaska, such as the language to eliminate needless permitting delays.

"Even though I do not sit on the Interior Appropriations Committee, I have had many discussions with my colleagues over these issues.  Despite being unable to fund particular constituent projects of interest in this year's appropriations bills, I am still able to voice my concerns about the infringement of freedoms in Alaska to develop our own resources, take full advantage of our parks and lands in a responsible manner, support our people, and continue to build our economy.  This is important legislation for our state, and I look forward to voting for its final passage when it reaches the House floor."

Highlights:
  • Includes H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, which would expedite air permits for offshore drilling in federal waters such as the Arctic Ocean, and had previously passed the House.
  • Blocks EPA's greenhouse gas rules for stationary sources.
  • Blocks judicial review from any effort to delist gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes states.
  • Blocks funding from listing or up-listing any species under the Endangered Species Act and prohibits funding from designating critical habitat for any species.
  • Blocks EPA from using any money "to carry out, implement, administer, or enforce" any changes to Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
  • Forbids the National Park Service from enforcing regulations activities on waters in Alaska's Yukon-Charley National Preserve.
  • Increases Indian Health Services dental health funds by $14 million and funding for Indian Health facilities by $23 million.
  • Provides $16 million for the methamphetamine and suicide prevention and treatment initiative and $10 million for the domestic violence prevention initiative under Indian Health Services.
  • Increases Bureau of Indian Affairs Contract Support Costs by $8.4 million.
  • Fully funds staffing costs of newly constructed health facilities under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Funded at $27.5 billion, this bill is 7% below FY 2011 enacted funding levels, and 12% below the President's FY 2012 budget requests.

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