U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D, Hawaii, announced a ban on federal earmarks, which brings to an end a decades long era in which young and developing states such as Alaska and Hawaii, have found funds for basics like roads and sewer systems. For years, Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Inouye worked closely together to ensure that the needs of this Nation’s two youngest states were provided for. Both Senators were unabashed supporters of earmarks as a way to meet their states’ needs. Senator Stevens died in August, is revered in Alaska for having brought home billions of dollars in projects and aid during his 40 years in the Senate, a legacy Alaska’s current congressional delegation will not be able to live up to. President Barrack Obama has pledged to veto bills including earmarks and the House of Representatives (Republican controlled) has refused to pass bills containing them.
Present U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the ban is “going to be a real kick in the gut for many of our communities.” Murkowski believes the ban is “going to yield unfortunate results for young emerging states like Alaska that aren’t part of any grid to the Lower 48.”
As recently reported in the A+C Blog (http://www.ac-lawyers.com/blog_article.php?article=238f), projects such as the struggling Port of Alaska billion dollar Port expansion have already felt the impact of elimination of earmark financing. The Port has, for many years, relied upon a combination of federal earmark appropriations combined with other funds and state capital appropriations to finance this mega project. Now the Port will have to look to other sources of money to complete this troubled project.