Spending Bills

Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Here is a list of items included in two fiscal year 2004 spending bills:

$30 million to rural Alaska sanitation improvements. The bill encourages the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers this money, to consider giving money to smaller villages in Alaska that ''are not able to compete for village safe water funding,'' according to a Stevens news release.

$30 million for grants nationwide to areas where electricity costs more than 20 cents per kilowatt hour. As in past years, Alaska will receive most of the money. Last week, for example, the Agriculture Department granted $465,000 to McGrath Light and Power to improve the power plant in the Kuskokwim River community. It also gave $2.5 million to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, which generates power across Alaska.

$15 million nationwide for digital conversions of public television equipment, much of which will be spent on updating the 87 translators and repeaters that serve rural Alaska.

$10 million nationwide to give low-interest loans and grants to bring Internet services to rural areas. Stevens, who created the program, said the program has greatly benefited Alaska.

$25 million nationwide for ''economic impact initiative'' grants in areas of high unemployment.

$600,000 for virus-free seed potato development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

$1.68 million to UAF for grasshopper control.

$1.16 million to UA in Kodiak for research into ways to use seafood waste.

$631,000 to study alternative salmon products, including baby food.

Language requesting that the Natural Resources Conservation Service offices in Alaska be maintained.

Language directing that at least 5 percent of the $12.1 million spent nationally on a program that checks rural water and fixes problems be spent in Alaska.

$48.5 million for the Denali Commission, which Stevens convinced Congress to create in 1998 to provide a more direct conduit for federal dollars spent on fixing rural Alaska's health problems.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

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