Working Waterfronts Framework Set for Introduction in Upcoming Congressional Session

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: U.S. Senate.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s office is accepting comments from the public through Dec. 2 regarding the Working Waterfront Framework legislation that she plans to introduce during the next congressional session.

The legislation to help boost industries such as tourism, fisheries and mariculture would address needs of smaller port and harbor communities through support for boat ramps, harbor floats and bathhouses, and fisheries disaster assistance for subsistence users.

Currently, the initiative is in a crowd-sourcing phase, with Murkowski wanting to hear from the public before actual legislation is written.

The framework includes measures to help coastal communities upgrade their shoreside infrastructure, and places a focus on workforce development, through support of educational and vocational training for maritime trades.

According to the NOAA Office of Coastal Management 83% of Alaskans live in coastal areas.

To combat the physical impacts of climate change and mitigate the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, the framework promotes coastal renewable energy projects and strengthens federal research on the conservation and utility of coastal vegetation and ecosystems.

“The blue economy is set to be a $3 trillion industry by 2030,” Murkowski said. “We have the biggest pieces of the puzzle already. Alaska’s 66,000 miles of coastline and strong ties to our oceans and rivers prime us for growth in sustainable industries like fisheries and mariculture.”

The senator said that in many cases tweaks to eligibility for existing programs would open up a world of possibility for communities dependent on Alaska’s rivers and oceans.

Comments should be emailed to Working_Waterfronts@Murkowski.Senate.Gov by Dec. 2.