House signs off on Senate supplemental budget

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- A $71.8 million supplemental spending plan that includes money to lobby Congress to open the coastal plain to oil exploration won approval Friday in the House.

The House signed off on changes in a bill approved by the Senate a day earlier at the urging of Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Included in the plan is $1.3 million to fund lobbying efforts to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The U.S. Senate is nearing a vote on ANWR and the funding is aimed at efforts to dislodge the votes needed for passage, Murkowski said.

''We're getting down to the finish line,'' Murkowski said during a news conference Friday from Anchorage where he was inspecting damage from a wind storm that struck Wednesday and Thursday.

The bill gives $1.1 million to the group Arctic Power for its lobbying efforts in Congress. It also gives $100,000 to the governor's office for lobbying efforts and $100,000 to the village of Kaktovik.

The spending bill includes $19 million to pay for the past fire season as well as another $10.7 million for earthquake, flooding and storm damages.

The House voted 32-4 to concur with changes made by the Senate during its floor session Friday. Reps. Ethan Berkowitz, D-Anchorage; Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage; Eric Croft, D-Anchorage; and Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, voted against the motion.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday by a vote of 18-1 with Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, casting the lone vote against the measure.

The governor is expected to sign the legislation as early as Monday, a spokesman said.

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The measure is House Bill 100.



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