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Murkowski Committee Work Brings Alaska Infrastructure Investment, Water Projects

Senator Makes Sure Harbor Construction, Projects Receive Federal Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski assured that a number of provisions in the 2015 Energy and Water Development funding bill will improve or sustain current infrastructure projects in Alaska. 

By virtue of her position on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, she was able to work with colleagues to fund studies, research, port projects for small underdeveloped villages and energy innovations that will boost Alaska’s economy.  The bill passed through the subcommittee and heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow.

“Alaska is still lacking the infrastructure that states across the Lower 48 take for granted, so where other states are seeking improvements or renovations to old work, we are often still working on our first roads, harbors or ports,” said Murkowski.  “I thank my colleagues not only for working with me to continue to bring needed investments to our state, but also for pursuing innovative ideas with me for our state’s energy projects.”

Corps of Engineers Operations and Maintenance Funding:  The subcommittee’s approved funding bill includes:

  • $11 million for Anchorage Harbor
  • $3.55 million for Chena River Lakes
  • $2.616 million for Anchorage Shoals
  • $1.14 million for Dillingham Harbor
  • $520,000 for Homer Harbor
  • $300,000 for Lowell Creek Tunnel
  • $319,000 for Ninilchik Harbor

Opening Rural Waterways:  Senator Murkowski successfully included small, remote and subsistence harbors in the Army Corps of Engineers new construction projects category.  This will facilitate access to Army Corps construction funds for much needed harbor projects for Alaskan communities – in many times, as simple as dredging work or creating breakwaters for safe water activity.

Denali Commission:  The Denali Commission is tasked with coordinating construction and infrastructure efforts in rural Alaska.  Though the President attempted to cut the Commission’s budget by more than 25%, Senator Murkowski was able to restore funding to $10 million.

Relief for Seward Floods: With rainfall in Seward resulting in chronic floods of the Lowell Creek Tunnel, Senator Murkowski successfully added language into the funding bill encouraging the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a study of alternative methods for flood water diversion.

Senator Murkowski’s language reads:  “The Committee recognizes the current problems with the existing Lowell Creek Tunnel and encourages the Corps to undertake a study for an alternative method of flood diversion for Lowell Canyon.”

Office of Indian Energy Policy: The Office of Indian Energy Policy is an Energy Department initiative that assists tribes with energy needs and projects on their lands.  Though the President’s budget allotted no funds for this program, Senator Murkowski requested $16 million to help consolidate policy and grant functions in one office within DoE.  Today’s funding bill allocates $16 million to the Office of Indian Energy Policy.

Methane Hydrates: Senator Murkowski requested research funding for national gas technologies to be increased to $40 million, up from $35 million in the president’s budget, with $20 million directed to research and development of natural gas hydrates in the Arctic.

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