Salmon, tourism marketing money fails -- for now

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- An attempt to piggyback help for the tourism and salmon industries onto an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lobbying bill failed Wednesday.

But several House Republican majority members promised they will try to help the two industries later.

The House voted 33-2 to spend $1.1 million on lobbying efforts to open ANWR to oil drilling. The bulk of the spending would go to a nonprofit group, Arctic Power, while $100,000 would go to the city of Kaktovik.

Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, tried to amend the bill to add $10 million each in marketing money for the salmon and tourism industries.

Kerttula said the salmon industry is in deep trouble, hit hard by competition from Chilean farmed salmon. The tourism industry is also looking at a bleak summer because of the Sept. 11 tourism attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., she said.

''Not everyone can leave fishing or leave tourism to go work in the oil fields,'' Kerttula said.

Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, has also asked for $20 million split between the two industries.

House Finance Co-chairman Eldon Mulder, R-Anchorage, urged lawmakers to vote against the extra $20 million Wednesday.

Mulder said he has sympathy for the tourism and fishing industries, but the proposals need more scrutiny. He promised to take them up soon in the Finance Committee.

He will be under pressure to do so from some members of the Republican majority caucus. Several said they'd like to help the two industries, although they voted against the funding Wednesday.

Rep. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, said she will be counting on her leaders to bring the issues back for a vote.

Kerttula's amendment failed 25-10 along majority-minority lines. Kerttula and Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, voted against the bill itself.

The ANWR lobbying bill, House Bill 334, now goes to the Senate. Besides $1 million for Arctic Power, the bill also contains $100,000 for the city of Kaktovik to help it produce a video and to defray its expenses as a stopping off point for visitors to the refuge.

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