Millions to fund Alaska marine projects

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Congress has approved spending about $40 million to study Steller sea lions and millions more for other marine mammal science, fisheries labs and federal research ships to benefit Alaska, thanks to Sen. Ted Stevens.

The spending is among three dozen projects that Stevens was able to get into the spending bill approved last week for the commerce, justice and state departments. The appropriations bill now goes to President Bush.

The home state projects described in a list from Stevens' office total about $132 million. The senator's list, though, does not include all the Alaska projects in the bill.

Among the appropriations listed by Stevens is $22 million to ease the backlog of underwater land formation surveys. A substantial amount of that money is expected to go to Alaska.

''The waters of Alaska have not been adequately resurveyed,'' Stevens said. ''They should be resurveyed quite frequently because we have changing patterns of shoals and rocks.''

One ship grounded off Kenai, he said, because a 10-story rock wasn't shown on the chart in the right location.

The spending also includes $4.25 million for Alaska's electronic database of marine charts.

Other Alaska projects include:

--$21.1 million for a Juneau fisheries lab and $5.5 million for a lab in Kasitsna Bay.

--$10.5 million to refurbish the R/V Fairweather.

--$2 million for a dock in Kodiak for the R/V Oscar Dyson.

--$6 million to clean Pribilof Island.

--$2.1 million in communications equipment for the state Department of Public Safety and $1 million for the Wasilla Dispatch Center.

--$2 million to combat drug and alcohol abuse and $1.1 million to stop rural alcohol bootlegging.

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