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Aerial view of Alaska river, highway and lake, with two kayakers on lake
Still Road, Still Lake Still Road, Still Lake // This photo was taken near Portage Lake in Alaska during August 2021, of two kayakers on the glacier water. I used my drone to take this aerial photo. Since it was a beautiful blue sky day, the colors of the glacial water reflected perfectly with the sky. © Sarah Liao/TNC Photo Contest 2021

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TNC Applauds Alaska's Congressional Delegation for Infrastructure Bill Support

Historic legislation supports Alaska communities and ensures a resilient future

The Nature Conservancy in Alaska applauds Alaska’s Congressional delegation—Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young—for supporting the historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed with broad bipartisan support on Nov. 5.

Infrastructure is more than roads and bridges. In Alaska, the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers on a list of critical needs facing communities all across the state and establishes new commitments and benchmarks for building a clean energy future.

This legislation addresses many basic and vital needs in Alaskan communities, both urban and rural. In Alaska, our lands, waters, and climate are the most fundamental infrastructure we have. They provide the water we drink, nurture the food we eat, clean the air we breathe, and protect the places we live. The legislation underscores the importance of and prioritizes significant infrastructure investment in clean energy, job creation, long-term savings, and resilient economies that are prepared to answer the challenges facing Alaska today and in the future.

Sen. Murkowski, in particular, took on a months-long effort to work with a bipartisan group of Senators to reach consensus in shaping this historic legislation. Murkowski’s moderate leadership was significant in pushing this legislation across the finish line for Alaskans.

“All across Alaska, communities are ready to address challenges posed by rising energy prices, mounting effects of climate change and a high cost of living. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act brings game-changing investments that hold great promise for a broad sweep of critical needs in Alaska, including creating local jobs, ensuring communities are resilient to the effects of climate change, new forest health measures, and offering key updates to energy and broadband  infrastructure,” says Steve Cohn, Alaska state director for The Nature Conservancy.

The new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivers new funding to support a range of benefits to Alaska, which includes:

  • Rebuilding transportation networks, including roads, bridges and rural airports, with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety;
  • Investing in clean water and sanitation in rural villages with funding for the EPA Alaska Native Village Grant Program and Indian Health Services sanitation projects;
  • Ensuring better access to broadband for high-cost rural areas, in part through the Tribal Connectivity Grant Program;
  • Preparing infrastructure in Alaska for the costly and urgent need to address impacts of climate change, extreme weather events, and increased risk of wildfire;
  • Aid to programs that combat the high cost of living in rural Alaska through prioritization of energy infrastructure and resilience to help communities build cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable systems; including innovation efforts in energy storage and renewable energy to carbon capture, grid modernization, and hydrogen.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a rare opportunity to invest in America’s infrastructure and prepare Alaska and our nation for a cleaner, stronger future. The Senate passed this bill with bipartisan support in August, and the U.S. House of Representatives secured this package of significant investments and provisions related to clean energy, community resilience, natural infrastructure and wildfire preparedness when it passed the legislation on Nov. 5.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.