U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today announced that $8.8 million will be distributed to Alaska communities located near or in national forests. The money, which Murkowski secured in the fiscal year 2020 budget process, will fund schools and local budget priorities.
“As we navigate the uncharted territory wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, these payments will provide a measure of certainty for communities as they budget for schools, emergency response, and other essential services,” Murkowski said. “From the Kenai Peninsula to Yakutat and Wrangell, rural communities will benefit, particularly as federal forest lands remain largely inaccessible and timber receipts remain limited.”
As chairman of both the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee, Murkowski has championed and secured funding for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. Last December, Murkowski led the effort to extend the program for two years, which resulted in the payments being made today.The Forest Service controls 22 million acres of land in Alaska, including 17 million acres in Southeast. More information on the SRS program can be found here.