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Energy and Water Appropriations Bill Passes House With Key Alaska Funding

Young Leads Bipartisan Coalition in Defense of Denali Commission

Washington, D.C. – Late yesterday, the House of Representatives and Alaskan Congressman Don Young passed H.R. 4923, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2015, legislation to provide funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, various Department of Energy programs, and a number of vital Alaskan projects. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 253 to 170.

"I was pleased to support the passage of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill yesterday in an effort to provide adequate funding for a number of vital national and Alaskan programs,” said Congressman Don Young. “This legislation makes significant steps to improving our Alaskan harbors and ports by providing much needed funding for operations and maintenance, while also ensuring programs like the Denali Commission continue to make progress in their work to implement critical energy infrastructure projects in the most remote, expensive, and impoverished, communities in our nation.”

During debate on H.R. 4923, the Denali Commission – an independent federal agency that works to find immediate and long-term solutions to inequities between rural Alaska and the rest of America – fell under attack from an amendment that would have stripped all of its funding for FY15. Following an impassioned floor speech and letter to his colleagues in opposition, Congressman Young successfully led a bipartisan coalition against the amendment.

“This amendment would have decimated a regional commission created by Congress to deliver the services of the federal government in the most cost effective manner possible,” said Congressman Don Young after the amendment failed on the House floor. “This small independent federal agency is making dramatic progress in the nation’s least developed areas. What many outsiders fail to understand is that the Denali Commission operates in the most geographically diverse and challenging area in America, twice the size of Texas. In fact, this area would encompass both the Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Commission. I continue to believe the Denali Commission is a model for effective and innovative government.”

Alaska specific provisions included within H.R. 4923:

Corps of Engineers Operations and Maintenance:

  • Port of Anchorage - $11M
  • Chena River Lakes - $3.5M
  • Cook Inlet Shoals - $2.6M
  • Dillingham Harbor- $1.14M
  • Homer Harbor – $520k
  • Lowell Creek Tunnel - $300k
  • Ninilchik Harbor - $319k
  • Nome Harbor - $1.451M

Corp of Engineers Studies:

  • AK Regional (Arctic) Ports - $50k
  • Craig Harbor - $300k
  • Port Lions Harbor - $300k

Funding for the Denali Commission - $10M

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