April 20, 2004
Murkowski asked the Bush Administration for specific information on its plans for Arctic research in the coming year. She sought the information since specific research projects are not summarized in the budget the President delivered to Congress in early February.
"We want Alaskans kept in the loop on what the government is planning to spend on research into the issues affecting the Arctic. We're studying our climate, our health, our fish and wildlife in the Bering Sea, and in the Arctic. We just need more details on what, if any, new research is being planned by the Administration for next year," said Murkowski, who made a similar request last year. Research in this fiscal year rose close to 30 percent, the government spending nearly $300 million on Arctic research in FY '04.
Murkowski said that includes resource assessment work called for by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) which was eliminated by the Clinton Administration.
"Arctic research has a major role to play in U.S. studies on climate change. We're working to have major facilities for this research built in Barrow at the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium, and to make this happen, the Arctic budget needs to be better known," said Sen. Murkowski.
"I'm also enthusiastic about the establishment of a North Slope Science planning effort by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Alaska and others. It may be time to look at ways to provide long-term funding for that program," said Murkowski.
She noted that the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will be meeting in Fairbanks in June. She said that either before or at that meeting, she hopes the Administration will release its Arctic Research Plan, which has been in development during the past year.
"I'm hopeful they can provide us with comments on the budget for this year and bring us up to date on the priorities of the science community in Alaska for the coming year," she said.
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