Alaska's King

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Location: Alaska, United States

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Friday, September 23, 2005

U.S. Senate bill has millions for Alaska

Finally, some small relief for Rural Alaska Villages:

"The U.S. Senate approved an agriculture spending bill Thursday maintaining several multimillion dollar programs in Alaska that Sen. Ted Stevens developed during his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate bill would put $26 million into grants and loans for rural water and sewer systems during the coming federal fiscal year. That's the same amount as was provided in the current year's spending bill.

Another $28 million would go to energy projects in areas with extremely high energy costs, mostly in Alaska. Again, the figure is the same as this year's.

The third program, to build community facilities, would route $20 million to areas of extreme unemployment, again mostly in Alaska. The total would be down $1 million from the current year.

The Senate bill must still be merged with a House version and signed by the president, but Stevens has in past years succeeded in protecting such earmarks during that process.

Other Alaska earmarks in the Senate's spending plan for the Agriculture Department include:

* $3.47 million for education grants to institutions that serve Alaska and Hawaii Natives.

* $1 million for berry research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

* No change in funding to UAF for virus-free potato research, and nuisance insect management and seafood waste studies.

* $200,000 to teach gardening techniques in villages.

* $100,000 to the state to "address nuisance animals."

* Language encouraging the purchase of domestic salmon for federal food programs.

* Similar support for grants to Alaska groups to market wild salmon.

* Support for grants to the Alaska Grown program.

* Language encouraging grants to tribes to buy land within Alaska Indian communities.

* $300,000 for commercialization of Alaska's native plants.

* $500,000 to the Natural Resource Conservation Service for an inventory of resources on non-federal land.

* $1.5 million for a "cooperative agreement" involving the Alaska Soil and Water Conservation District.

* $1.3 to finish the Alaska Plant Materials Center.

* $300,000 to collect and study northern plants.

* Language directing that money for food safety be used to contract with the state of Alaska to conduct seafood inspection.

* $500,000 to Alaska Village Initiatives for wildlife management on private lands.

The Senate on Thursday also passed a military construction spending bill for the coming year, but Alaska details were not immediately available.


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