In Alaska, Secretary Haaland Highlights Historic Funding from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to Bolster Resilience, Create Jobs
More than $138 million in FY22 infrastructure investments will deliver direct benefits to Alaskan communities
April 20, 2022
ANCHORAGE — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland kicked off a week-long trip to Alaska today, where she will meet with local, state, elected and Alaska Native leaders; Interior Department employees; and stakeholders to highlight ongoing efforts to support sustainable economies across the state.
During her first day of meetings in Anchorage, Secretary Haaland discussed the more than $138 million available to the state in fiscal year 2022 through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The events also helped underscore the Biden-Harris administration’s Building A Better America rural infrastructure tour, which is highlighting how infrastructure investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will make a transformative and lasting impact in communities across rural America.
In Alaska, these critical infrastructure investments and funding opportunities will help ensure communities, particularly in rural and Indigenous communities, have healthy lands and waters, continued access to the outdoors, and the foundation for future jobs and economic opportunity.
Investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will directly benefit Alaskan communities in fiscal year 2022 via the Interior Department include:
• $75.5 Million to Create Jobs Cleaning Up Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells
o In January, the Interior Department announced $53.4 million available to Alaska from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. The historic investments to clean up these hazardous sites will create good-paying, union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce dangerous methane leaks. The fiscal year 2022 Omnibus Bill allocated an additional $22.1 million for legacy well cleanup in the state.
• $25 Million for Pretty Rocks Landslide in Denali National Park and Preserve
o The National Park Service recently approved a plan that will pave the way for a long-term solution to the Pretty Rocks Landslide on the Denali Park Road within Denali National Park and Preserve. With an initial $25 million investment in critical funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the NPS will begin construction in Summer 2022 and keep the project on an accelerated timeline. During construction, visitors will continue to have access to unparalleled wildlife viewing, views of Denali, front-country trails and backcountry hiking and camping. Construction will start during the summer of 2022 and is expected to take two years to complete.
• $19.9 Million to Support State Wildlife Conservation and Outdoor Recreation
o In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced $19.9 million in funding to Alaska through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program to support state and local outdoor recreational opportunities, and wildlife and habitat conservation efforts. Part of the WSFR Program was reauthorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The WSFR Program fosters cooperative partnerships between federal and state agencies, working alongside hunters, anglers, and other outdoor interests, to enhance recreational opportunities while advancing sustainable resource goals.
• $10 Million to Reduce Wildfire Risk
o This investment will help implement the Department’s Five-year Monitoring, Maintenance, and Treatment Plan. This fuels treatment work supports local communities by reducing wildfire risk and employing Tribal members, youth and veterans. Fuels treatments will be completed on more than 240,000 acres over the next two years. In collaboration with more than 80 partners, this work will include using prescribed fire on 7,500 acres and completing treatments on 9,500 acres in the wildland urban interface.
• $4.2 Million to Revitalize Abandoned Mine Lands
o In February, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced $1.3 million in fiscal year 2022 funding is available to Alaska to create good-paying union jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML) as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law allocates AML funding over 15 years, which will help communities eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining. This historic funding allocation is expected to address the vast majority of inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in this country. In March, the Interior Department announced an additional $2.8 million is available to Alaska for AML reclamation efforts in fiscal year 2022.
• $3.5 Million for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Passage Projects
o The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that three projects in Alaska will receive $3.5 million in funding this year from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support aquatic ecosystems and restore free-flowing waters, allowing for enhanced fish migration and protecting communities from flooding. This investment will bolster efforts to address outdated or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers fragmenting our nation’s rivers and streams, which will help restore fish passages and aquatic connectivity by removing or bypassing barriers.
• Funding Available to Build Climate Resilience in Tribal Communities
o During a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Alaska Symposium in Anchorage earlier this month, the Bureau of Indian Affairs announced it is investing $46 million to address the unique impacts of climate change in Indigenous communities. The Department is currently accepting proposals from Tribes and Tribal organizations for this initial funding for projects and initiatives that address and strengthen climate resilience and adaptation; ocean and coastal management; community-driven relocation and protect-in-place activities; and internships and youth engagement. Funding for this opportunity came through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and fiscal year 2022 appropriations.