U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today announced that communities across Alaska will soon receive a total of $10,972,512 to fund schools and local budget priorities. The payments are being provided through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program, which Murkowski successfully reauthorized and funded in the recent omnibus appropriations bill.
“I recognize that as timber production declines, local communities in Alaska and across the nation are forced to rely on the Secure Rural Schools program to pay for essential services such as schools and roads,” Murkowski said. “That’s why I worked hard to ensure the SRS program would receive funding this fiscal year, and why I continue to seek reforms to provide communities with greater access to forested lands to develop their economies and ultimately eliminate the need for this program.”
Murkowski has long supported the SRS program. In this Congress, she has written letters to President Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to urge funding; convened a hearing focused on the program in May 2017; and cosponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. As chairman of the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, she also renewed and funded SRS as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget bill.The Forest Service controls 22 million acres of land in Alaska, including 17 million acres in the southeast region. A list of eligible boroughs and communities and the amount of funding each is expected to receive is now available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.