Congress Passes Water Bill with Alaska Amendments

Congress has passed a $12 billion water resources bill that may help Alaska gain a deepwater Arctic port, although it doesn’t actually fund one.

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The provision, supported by the entire Alaska congressional delegation, would allow the Corps of Engineers to provide technical assistance to local or tribal governments who want to develop an Arctic port, and accept money from them. For other harbors around Alaska, the bill allows the Corps to consider subsistence use, not just economic development, when selecting projects to fund.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act authorizes more than 30 major projects in the lower 48, such as harbor dredging and flood control work.

It now goes to the president for his signature.