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Murkowski Fighting for Arctic Ports, Alaska Priorities in Senate Bill

On Eve of Arctic Council, Senator Addresses Alaskan Needs in WRDA Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the U.S. Senate considering S.601 the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to address infrastructure priorities on America’s coasts and rivers, Senator Lisa Murkowski today introduced three separate amendments to boost Alaska’s emerging Arctic opportunities and address the needs of other vital waterfront areas in Seward and Haines.

“Port and harbor investment is essential to so many Alaskan communities in Alaska, and I’m glad the Senate has taken up this bill dealing with the Corps of Engineers’ vital work. We must continue to push forward on investment in Arctic ports because the reality of Arctic development and an increase in Arctic shipping is upon us,” said Murkowski.  “Before representing Congress at the Arctic Council in Sweden, I made it a priority to advocate on behalf of Alaska’s needs. The United States is an Arctic Nation, development is happening now – not in the future, now – and we put much at risk without appropriate investment in American Arctic ports.”

Senator Murkowski today filed three amendments to the WRDA bill to:

  • Enable the Army Corps of engineers to pursue partnerships with non-federal public entities to work together on Deep Draft Ports – from initial surveys and designs all the way to maintenance and operations.
  • Release the federal government’s jurisdiction (navigational servitude) over a portion of the Seward small boat harbor, which presently is hampered from development and investment on and around the property due to uncertainty whether the government will change the rules in the future, possibly shuttering businesses and residences.
  • Authorize an updated navigation project for the Haines harbor, now that the former plan was found to have structural problems – to make sure that efforts and resources are used in the best way possible.

Additionally, Senator Murkowski worked to get language added to the bill that would result in:

  • Aid and assistance available to coastal communities or Alaska Native villages threatened by flooding, inundation or erosion.

<>·New work on remote and subsistence harbors in Alaska.

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