Stevens seeking millions for state

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Sen. Ted Stevens emerged from a long day Thursday in the Appropriations Committee room with spending bills that contain millions for Alaska projects and programs.

Stevens, an Alaska Republican, met with reporters and looked over a list as he provided a quick summary of Alaska items in the bills the committee passed.

There is $30 million for the Denali Commission to build rural health clinics - an increase of $10 million over last year and $32.5 million for Native education, Stevens said.

The bills also contain $25 million for salmon recovery efforts, $2 million for groundfish monitoring, $1 million for Bering Sea crab research, $1 million for Yukon River chinooks, and $3.2 million for the Alaska Fisheries Information Network.

Stevens said he is especially pleased with the $22.35 million he obtained for Steller sea lion research. Stevens has been pouring money into sea lion research since 1999, when concern for its shrinking population threatened to shut down the Bering Sea pollock industry.

The money has led to sound science that will be used in court someday, he said.

He also secured $20 million for Alaska seafood marketing. In the past, federal money for marketing Alaska seafood could be used only domestically, an aide said, but this money would go to a program that allows marketing to other countries.

Stevens also obtained $1 million for a tsunami warning observatory to protect Homer, Kodiak and Seward.

The bills approved by the Appropriations Committee still must pass the full Senate and then be reconciled with their House counterparts.

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