Donald Young

Donald Young

ALASKA

Young and Hinojosa Introduce Legislation to Extend Rural Veteran Transportation Program

2016/06/23

Washington, D.C. – Standing up for veterans across rural America, yesterday Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rubén E. Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced H.R.  5558, the VA Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act, bipartisan legislation to reauthorize funding for a vital transportation grant program created by Congress in 2010 to expand healthcare access to veterans.

H.R. 5558 provides a three year extension to the Highly Rural Transportation Grant (HRTG) program, which is set to expire at the end of Fiscal Year 2017. The program enables State Veterans Service Agencies and Veteran Service Organizations to provide no-cost transportation services to VA or VA-authorized healthcare facilities to veterans in counties with fewer than seven people per square mile.

Congressman Young discussing H.R. 5558, the VA Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act (click here to watch).

“This bill is just one step in my many efforts to stand up for our nation’s veterans,” said Congressman Young. “This bill would reauthorize a critical program for our many rural veterans in Alaska and across the nation. While transportation to a VA facility can be as simple as a driving a few miles in the Lower 48, veterans in Alaska and across much of rural America are often faced with greater hurdles and travel times when attending their VA appointments. The VA’s Highly Rural Transportation Grant Program helps these veterans, and ensures the VA lives up to its motto, which says – ‘To care for him who shall have borne to battle – no matter how rural of an area a veteran lives.’”

“The Highly Rural Transportation Grant program is critical to veterans in remote and underserved areas across the United States, but particularly in Deep South Texas,” Congressman Hinojosa said. “Extending this program will ensure that the Texas Veterans Commission can continue providing Jim Hogg County veterans with transportation to the McAllen and Harlingen VA facilities, as well as other high-performing medical providers in our community. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to protect all veterans’ access to the health care they have earned through dedicated service and rightfully deserve.”

Currently, 14 organizations in 11 states administer grants under the HRTG. Grantees are eligible to receive up to $50,000 per highly-rural area in order to “provide innovative transportation options to Veterans in highly rural areas.”

According to the Alaska Department of Veteran Affairs, 8,200 veterans are currently eligible for the program in areas that include Southwest Fairbanks, the Matanuska-Susitna region, Kodiak Island, the Kenai Peninsula, and Prince of Wales Island and Hyder. In just the three months between January and March, 2016, the HRTG program in Alaska provided 3,010 hours of transportation on 3,129 trips, totaling 113,237 miles (and 5,760 nautical miles), for 3,116 veterans.  Although FY 2016 HRTG grant funds have been exhausted in several Alaskan areas, Congressman Young remains committed to reauthorizing the program to provide future services to Alaskan veterans.

For more information regarding the HRTG grant, click here

 

 

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FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill Passes House

2016/06/16

Washington, D.C. – Moving ahead in the annual appropriations process, today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5293, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, by a vote of 282 to 138. The legislation provides $517.1 billion in discretionary funding and $58.6 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations to support military operations and readiness programs, base operations, health and quality-of-life programs and a 2.1 percent pay raise for our troops.

“Simply put, this legislation ensures that our nation’s military has the resources, personnel and equipment necessary to defend our national interests at home and abroad,” said Congressman Don Young. “Importantly, it makes necessary changes to restore the size of the Army – permanently eliminating cuts facing JBER’s 4-25, provides a much deserved pay increase for our men and women in uniform, and fully funds the acquisition of the Air Force’s F-35A fighter jets, which soon will call Eielson Air Force Base home.  The FY 2017 Defense Appropriations Act also includes efforts I’ve been working on for many years to increase awareness for both Alaska’s role in the Arctic and the threats our nation faces in the region. It is clear that this effort was successful with the inclusion of a provision that emphasizes our nation’s concern for Russian aggression in the Arctic, which urges the Secretary of Defense to counter aggression and make maritime security for the Arctic a top priority.  With five major military installations in Alaska, all of which serve critical missions for our nation, it’s extremely important we provide our brave men and women the necessary funding to support readiness, new infrastructure, and equipment recapitalization and modernization.”

Alaska specific provisions requested by Congressman Young and included in the House-passed legislation:

  • Air Force F-35A Procurement: Provides $5.158 billion for procurement of the F-35A Fighter, $350 million more than the President’s request. The F-35A is one of top three acquisition priorities for the Air Force, and this procurement request includes funding for critical flight and flight integration testing.
  • Air Operations Training: Provides $1.73 billion for Air Operations Training.  Air Operations Training consists of fighter lead-in training, combat mission and advanced tactical training for aircrew, and missile launch training for ballistic missile crews. It also supports 21 air-to-ground ranges, including the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, and air-to-air training operations and combat training exercises, including the annual RED FLAG-Alaska exercises held at Eielson AFB.
  • Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) RDT&E: Provides $160 million for the continued research, development, testing, and evaluation for the LRDR. The LRDR is a midcourse tracking radar that will provide persistent sensor coverage and improve discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater. It will also optimize the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor inventory, and address evolving threats.
  • Missile Defense Agency Operations & Maintenance (O&M): Provides $441 million for MDA operations and maintenance, critical to ensuring the MDA continues to operate at full efficiency. This language also includes funding for the MDA’s Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, primarily located at Fort Greely, Alaska. With increasing intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran, it is critical that we fully fund this critical system’s operations.
  • Defense Health Program: Provides $34 billion for the Defense Health Program, including $120 million for peer-reviewed breast cancer research, $90 million for prostate cancer research, $20 million for ovarian cancer research, and $5 million for tuberous sclerosis complex research.
  • Civil Military Programs: Provides $195 million for Civil Military Programs—an increase of $35 million from the President’s budget request. One of these programs is the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, a critical tool to educate and assist at risk youth. Other programs include the Innovative Readiness Training Program, which contributes directly to military readiness and provides realistic training in a joint environment for National Guard, Reserve, and Active Duty members – preparing them to serve during a national crisis at home or abroad.
  • Civil Air Patrol: Provides a total of 40 million for Civil Air Patrol (CAP).This provision includes $28 million for operations and maintenance, $10.3 million for the procurement of mission support aircraft, and $1.7 million for the procurement of other vehicles. CAP consists of unpaid professionals who annually contribute more than $153 million in volunteer service.  The program provides emergency response support to the Air Force, DoD, and FEMA in thousands of communities across all 50 states.
  • Department of Defense Impact Aid: Includes $30 million for DoD Impact Aid, a program separate from the Department of Education’s Impact Aid, used specifically for military-connected school districts.

For a bill summary, please click here.

For the text of the bill, please click here.

For the bill report, please click here. Read More

Congressman Young’s Legislation to Empower States to Improve Forest Management Advances Through Committee

2016/06/15

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources overwhelmingly approved legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young to reform the federal government’s broken system of forestry management in a manner that empowers local communities, builds resilient forests and streamlines burdensome management practices.

H.R. 3650, the State National Forest Management Act, was introduced by Congressman Young on September 29, 2015. The bill, which works to address major failures of the nation’s federal land management agencies, would authorize states to select and acquire certain National Forest system lands, up to 2 million acres, to be managed and operated by the state for timber production and other purposes under the law.

Congressman Young speaking on behalf of H.R. 3650 (click here to watch).

“Nowhere in the nation are federal land decisions more destructive to communities and hardworking people than in the 17 million acre Tongass National Forest,” said Congressman Young.  “What should be a straightforward and balanced process, given the size of the Tongass, the Federal Government has time and time again failed. In Alaska, we have a proven record of success in managing millions of acres of state parks and forests. H.R. 3650 will give states and local governments an opportunity to show they are in fact the best stewards of our lands.  My bill works to address the major failures of our federal land management agencies, while giving our States an opportunity to do better. This proposal works to end the constant fighting between our forestry communities and the federal government by allowing us to resolve our differences at home."

Speaking on behalf of his legislation, Congressman Young presented a case for change in Alaska:

  • “In Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is 17 million acres, but through a series of Congressional withdrawals, Wilderness designations and administrative policy changes, the suited timber base available for management has declined to a mere 672 thousand acres – or 4%. 
  • “The state manages only a tiny fraction of forestland in Southeast Alaska, about 50 thousand acres. The Tongass National Forest has sold only about 12% of its 267 million board feet annual allowable cut.  The State has sold about 65% of the 12.1 million board feet annual allowable cut.”
  •  “A state timber sale takes about 16 months to plan and offer, as opposed to 5 years for the United States Forest Service, largely due to NEPA. United States Department of Agriculture estimates that over 90 statutes govern management of the Forest Service, with conflicting mandates and exposing agencies to litigation.”

Young continued by criticizing the Forest Service as “the worst managing agency we have today as far as silviculture is concerned.”

“They don’t consider harvesting trees as part of their program, and they should,” said Congressman Young. “Consequently, we have no timber. We went from 15,000 jobs in SE Alaska – high paying jobs, to about 150 in my period of time. It’s because management means harvesting. Management has not been done by the Forest Service…They don’t manage them; they create parks, refuges and wilderness areas and preclude the involvement of local people. People are important too; people are important to the community.”

Included in the passage of H.R. 3650, was an amendment offered by Congressman Young to address a 2010 Forest Service decision to begin transitioning to young growth timber harvests in the Tongass National Forest; a decision Young argues fails to consider human and economic impacts. Young’s amendment would delay this unilateral action to transition to young growth, which Alaska timber harvesters say are grossly inadequate to meet the supply needs of even one SE Alaska saw mill, until a full inventory of young growth trees in the Tongass Land Management Plan has been completed.

Congressman Young speaking on his Tongass-specific amendment to H.R. 3650. (Click here to watch).

“My amendment is common sense and forces the United States Forest Service to count the young growth trees before timber harvesters are forced to comply with this shortsighted deal,” said Congressman Young. “That’s wrong in the forest industry. Everybody will tell you that. This is an area that’s already been logged and they say we’re going to start an industry with small trees. I can’t believe they’d even think of that because when you harvest small trees, you don’t have any monetary goal at all… I think maybe they just want to say we’re selling so many million board feet, knowing full well and good that you can’t harvest them and make any money. Nobody will bid on them, and thus they say there’s no market for… If you want to save the forest, this [bill] is the way to go. If you want to save the timber industry, this [bill] is the way to go.”

Additional noteworthy testimony offered by Congressman Young:

  • “We heard the testimony of a sawmill operator from Alaska who told this committee there was not sufficient young growth timber in Southeast Alaska to support even a single sawmill, let alone an industry.” * Click here to watch testimony from Alaskan Bryce Dahlstrom; click here for his full written testimony.
  • “I get very frustrated when I have my constituents – in small communities that are dying – because of no economy. We’re not talking about ruining the forests. We’re talking about 2 million acres out of 17 million acres of land.”
  •  “As far as my amendment goes, I want to stress again, we don’t argue that we ought to have these young trees. But we don’t want to cut them when there’s no market for a young tree. We’re talking about a 14 inch tree, that’ll eventually – in less than 25 years – be a 36 inch tree. Why would you cut it when it’s 14 inches around and it has no value.  And there’s no mill that can actually mill those trees because they’re too small.”
  •  “The [Forest Service has] never explained why they came up with this idea.  It is not good forest management, it is a way to shut the timber industry down and kill my communities. I can’t believe that anybody in this room would think, you’re willing to kill a community because an agency will say ‘oh, this is the way we’re going to manage it.’”
  •  “The gentleman talked about Secure Rural Schools, we don’t have any more timber to support these small communities at all because we have no timber industry. We’re not killing the forests, we’re managing the forests. The Forest Service does not manage timber anymore.”


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Delegation Comments on Alaska Changes Within VA Choice Program

2016/06/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs has informed Alaska’s congressional delegation that as of July 10, 2016, the scheduling for Choice Act medical appointments in Alaska will revert back to being handled by local VA integrated care personnel, instead of its current practice of outsourcing scheduling requests to contractor-operated call centers in the Lower 48. The delegation has been demanding this change after hearing from numerous Alaska veterans who have been ill-served by the new VA system established after the Choice Act was passed in 2014.

“The implementation of the VA Choice Program in Alaska was nothing short of disastrous,” said Congressman Don Young. “We’ve heard countless accounts from veterans and VA personnel that our system has left many Alaskans without answers, without access, and without timely and adequate healthcare. This is unacceptable and does not reflect our nation’s solemn commitment to the more than 77,000 veterans who call Alaska home.  Although not a silver bullet to the VA’s shortcomings, the Alaska-specific solutions announced today are an important step forward. Having designated scheduling staff in state, rather than staff in the lower 48 without any understanding of Alaska’s size or transportation challenges, works to resolve a major issue we’ve seen in recent years. Both Senators and I are fully committed to ensuring all those that served our nation receive the benefits they earned and are owed.”

“I am pleased that after numerous hearings in D.C. and in Alaska, the VA is finally working to tailor the ‘one-size-fits-none’ Veterans Choice Program, to fit the unique needs of Alaska’s veterans,” Senator Sullivan said. “Importantly, that fix begins with giving Alaskans back more local control over their healthcare. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have been relentless in been pushing senior members of the VA to implement necessary changes to the Choice Act. However, there is still much work to be done and Alaska veterans should know that I will continue to hold the VA's feet to fire until for each and every Alaskan veteran gets the healthcare they were promised and deserve.  Our nation owes it to them and I am committed to making sure the VA delivers on that debt.”

“With medical appointments now being handled by local VA personnel, I am confident our veterans will be better served. This is a small but important step toward addressing the failings of the Choice Card,” said Senator Murkowski. “As a member of the VA Appropriations Subcommittee, I obtained language demanding the VA fully reinstate the successful Alaska community care model it maintained before the Choice Act was enacted.  Before the Choice program was implemented, local VA employees placed veterans with community providers, maintained the provider relationships, and paid the bills. This announcement fixes part of the problem. The VA proposes to fix one facet of that problem but provider acceptance of Choice remains problematic. I’m still not sold that the Choice Card provides meaningful choice for Alaska veterans.” 

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House-Passed Bill Reauthorizes Vital Program for Small Rural Hospitals in Alaska and Across the Nation

2016/06/10

Washington, D.C.Alaska Congressman Don Young took to the House floor this week in support of H.R. 5273, the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016, which contains a provision supporting seniors and healthcare providers in rural Alaska by providing a 5-year extension to a program utilized by hospitals in Juneau, Soldotna and Sitka – the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program (RCH).

Congressman Young speaking in support of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program (click here to watch).

“The Rural Hospital Demonstration Program has worked well and has come to the aid of seniors and healthcare providers across rural America,” Congressman Don Young said on the House floor. “Congress created the program to provide increased Medicare reimbursements for hospitals across the nation that are too large to be considered Critical Access Hospitals, but too small to be supported by traditionally low Medicare margins on inpatient services. This program has helped three hospitals in Alaska – Central Peninsula in Soldotna, Bartlett Regional in Juneau, and Mt. Edgecumbe in Sitka. These hospitals serve a wide variety of patients all across those vast areas.”

Congressman Young introduced H.R. 672, the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Extension Act on February 4, 2015, to extend a program that has helped stabilize essential health services in rural Alaska and 10 other states, and allowed seniors to receive the care they need closer to home. The bill’s provisions, which were included in H.R. 5273, provide much needed relief for hospitals currently or previously participating in the RCH. Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau, Central Peninsular Hospital in Soldotna and Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka have all participated in the RCH, but were removed from the program as it neared expiration. This extension would allow them to re-enter the program automatically.

 “Medicare reimbursement rates have traditionally fallen well below the real cost of doing business. For some hospitals, this disparity is overcome by high patient volume and revenues from non-Medicare services,” said Congressman Don Young upon introduction of H.R. 672. “For others, found in the most remote parts of the country, this shortfall is overcome by increased Medicare reimbursements through the Critical Access Hospital designation. Unfortunately, there are a select group of small rural hospitals that fall in between both of these categories and often have trouble staying afloat. The RCH works to alleviate the pressure put on these hospitals by providing increased annual Medicare reimbursements, which allow for expanded services, much needed equipment, and the hiring of new physicians,”

To be eligible to participate in the RCH, a hospital needs to meet the following criteria:

  • Located in a rural area
  • Have fewer than 51 acute care beds
  • Make available 24-hour emergency services
  • Be ineligible for Critical Access Hospital designation

The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Extension Act has received the full endorsement of the American Hospital Association, a nationwide professional group consisting of 5,000 organizations and 37,000 individuals. For a letter of support from the AHA, click here.

Click here for more information on H.R. 5273, the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016.

 

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Congressman Young Supports Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Bill

2016/06/08

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives and Alaska Congressman Don Young today unanimously passed bipartisan legislation aimed at promoting safety and innovation in pipeline transportation and infrastructure. The House amendment to S. 227, the SAFE PIPES Act, provides a number of reforms and improvements to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in order to create a more dynamic, data-driven regulator, committed to ensuring safety and certainty across the nation’s energy sector.

“As the original sponsor of the legislation that created the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), I have long worked towards developing transportation infrastructure that safely delivers energy across Alaska and the nation,” said Congressman Don Young. “With the largest, most expansive network of pipelines in the world – including the Trans Alaska Pipeline – the United States continues to lead the way in the safe transport of oil, natural gas and other commodities. This bipartisan bill is committed to making positive improvements and reforms to PHMSA, establishing strong transparency and reporting requirements, promoting new innovations and standards, and ensuring the safety of our pipeline infrastructure.”

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regulates the safety of pipeline facilities at the federal level. PHMSA’s regulatory programs are focused on ensuring safety in the design, construction, testing, operation, and maintenance of pipelines. With a network of more than 2.6 million miles of pipelines, which transport 64 percent of the energy commodities consumed in the country, the House-passed bill established concrete measures to protect the nation’s pipeline infrastructure and enhance safety:


Improves safety by closing gaps in federal standards

  • Requires PHMSA to set federal minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities, and allows states to go above those standards for intrastate facilities.
  • Authorizes emergency order authority that is tailored to the pipeline sector, taking into account public health and safety, network, and customer impacts.
  • Updates regulations for certain liquefied natural gas facilities to better match changing technology and markets and take into account national security considerations.
  • Increases inspection requirements for certain underwater oil pipelines to enhance safety.
  • Ensures that pipeline operators receive timely post-inspection information from PHMSA to allow them to maintain and improve their safety efforts, and ensures that product composition information is quickly provided to first responders after an incident.
  • Improves protection of coastal areas, marine coastal waters, and the Great Lakes by explicitly designating them as unusually environmentally sensitive to pipeline failures.

Enhances the quality and timeliness of PHMSA rulemakings

  • Requires PHMSA to update Congress every 90 days on outstanding statutory mandates, including the status of each mandate, reasons for its incompletion, and estimated completion date.
  • Requests two Government Accountability Office (GAO) studies on the effectiveness of integrity management programs for both natural gas and hazardous liquids pipelines.

Promotes better use of data and technology to improve pipeline safety

  • Tasks GAO with investigating how to use technology to improve third-party damage prevention (a leading cause of releases).
  • Requires GAO to study the latest innovations in pipeline materials, corrosion prevention technology, and training.
  • Creates a working group of PHMSA, states, industry stakeholders, and safety groups to develop recommendations on how to create an information sharing system to improve safety outcomes.
  • Authorizes PHMSA to study the feasibility of a national integrated pipeline safety database to have a clearer picture of federal and state safety oversight efforts.

Leverages federal and state pipeline safety resources

  • Authorizes states to participate in interstate pipeline inspections.
  • Provides tools to enhance PHMSA’s efforts to hire pipeline safety personnel.
  • Requires the DOT Inspector General to study staff resource constraints and make recommendations to Congress to address PHMSA’s hiring challenges and training needs.

 

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House Committee Approves Army Corps of Engineers Projects for Alaska

2016/05/26

Washington, D.C.Alaska Congressman Don Young successfully worked to include numerous provisions beneficial to Alaska in H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016, bipartisan legislation to promote economic competitiveness and strengthen the nation’s water transportation and infrastructure needs – including harbors, locks, dams and flood protection. The bill, which unanimously passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee yesterday, authorizes harbor projects for Little Diomede and the City of Craig.

“As Alaskans, we understand the vital role of our ports, harbors, and waterways; they are critical lifelines for our state, coastal communities and local economies,” said Congressman Don Young. “This year’s WRDA bill builds upon a number of reforms made in 2014 to develop and improve much needed water infrastructure in Alaska and across the nation. To optimize the needs of local communities and streamline development of critical infrastructure, we worked in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a bill within the boundaries set by the earmark moratorium. I look forward to moving ahead on these important Alaska infrastructure projects, as well as enacting language that emphasizes the importance of Arctic port development. 

The following reforms and provisions of Alaskan importance were supported by Congressman Young in the 2016 WRDA:

  • LITTLE DIOMEDE, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Little Diomede, AK.
  • CRAIG, AK: The legislation authorizes the construction of a harbor in Craig, AK.
  • CITY OF VALDEZ: The legislation includes a bill sponsored by Congressman Young, H.R. 5087, which removes a navigational servitude on waterfront land in Valdez that currently impedes economic development of the property.  The bill removes the Federal Government’s taint on title in order to allow investment prospects for lands that were created due to dredging disposal from the construction of the harbor.
  •  SMALL REMOTE AND SUBSISTENCE HARBORS:  The legislation makes reforms to the current system the Corps of Engineers uses to evaluate small, remote, and subsistence port and harbor projects, by recognizing the regional benefits for justification of the project.  Increasing capabilities at a hub community will dramatically lower the costs of goods throughout the region, in many circumstances.
  • EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES: Allows Alaska Native Corporations to develop water infrastructure projects as non-federal sponsors.
  • ARCTIC PORTS:  Congressman Young successfully included a two-part amendment to H.R. 5303 to help with a justification for an Arctic port: one change recognizes the value of a potential Arctic Port to the surrounding communities, and another to enables Corps to consider the national security benefits of an Arctic port.

 

Congressman Young offered his Arctic Ports amendment to H.R. 5303 (click here to watch)

“This is a very simple amendment – the consideration of the national security interests of the Arctic," said Congressman Young. "Many of you don’t realize, but this a hot spot in the world today. This is not about Alaska, this is about national security…. the activity, the exploration for minerals, oil, etc... [Our rival nations] are so far ahead of us that we’re not even on the same page. The Secretary of Defense strongly supports the concept of a port in the northern part of Alaska…Admiral Robert Papp does too… but we’re so far behind that if we don’t identify a potential port now, we will never be in a position to defend our shores or develop minerals or oil that’s needed."

 

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Congressman Young Appointed to Represent House on Energy Conference Committee

2016/05/26

Washington, D.C.  – Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) appointed Alaska Congressman Don Young to serve on a conference committee charged with producing final energy and natural resources legislation between the House and Senate. Young’s appointment comes following House-passage of its own version of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, which includes H.R 8, the North American Energy and Security and Infrastructure Act, and numerous other House-passed bills relating to energy, natural resources and public lands.  The legislation will be reconciled with the Senate version of the legislation, S. 2012, sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski.

“In the 10 years since we last considered an energy package of this magnitude, we’ve seen a massive transformation in our nation’s energy sector,” said Congressman Don Young. “Through a patchwork of bills and reforms, we’ve attempted to close the gap between 21st century innovations and our nation’s outdated and over burdensome energy policies. However, we’ve seen little progress in the face of this administration’s many attempt to lock away our lands and limit responsible resource development. Yesterday’s House-passed energy legislation includes a number of long sought provisions and reforms aimed at ensuring access to critical resources and public lands, streamlining energy development, and eliminating red tape facing our nation’s sportsmen. As a former House Natural Resources Chairman and sponsor of numerous provisions within this bill, I look forward to serving on the conference committee and producing a bill that benefits both Alaska and the nation. I commend Senator Murkowski for her steadfast commitment to bring forward a comprehensive energy package in the Senate and I look forward to working with her as this process moves forward.”

The House-passed energy package includes numerous bills and provisions introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young:

H.R. 538 – Native American Energy Act

The Native American Energy Act, introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK), passed the House on October 19, 2015. The bill addresses the federal government’s overregulation of Indian lands to promote energy development by Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.

H.R. 2406 – The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act

The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act passed the House on February 26, 2016. The bill is a package of 20 provisions, three sponsored by Congressman Young, which will increase opportunities for hunters, anglers and recreational shooters. Young's provisions include:

In addition, the House energy package would:

  • Expedite the approval process for American liquefied natural gas exports;
  • Require hard deadlines for environmental reviews and permitting of energy infrastructure projects;
  • Require the designation of pipeline corridors across federal land;
  • Improve management of electrical transmission rights-of-way across federal land;
  • Streamline development of strategic and critical minerals;
  • Improve federal forest management to restore resilience and health to public forests.

Click HERE to view a summary of the House Natural Resources Committee’s provisions included in the House Amendment to S. 2012.

Click HERE to view the full text of the House Amendment to S. 2012.

 

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Half a Billion Dollars for Alaska Military Construction Included in House-Passed Appropriations Bill

2016/05/19

Washington, D.C. – In its first action on Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations, today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, with the support of Alaska Congressman Don Young. The bipartisan funding package provides $81.6 billion in total discretionary funding to support critical Department of Defense infrastructure projects and programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The decision to base two squadrons of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base and position the Long Range Discrimination Radar at Clear Air Force Station were major victories for Alaska and the nation. Not only will these systems play an immense role in the defense of our nation, they also mean a significant boost to our economy and our local communities,” said Congressman Young. “Today’s House-passed Milcon-VA Appropriations Act lays the groundwork for these two important basing decisions and further supports the needs of our military men and women. I look forward to moving ahead in this process so Alaskans can begin working on these critical projects.

“Not only does this legislation fund vital DOD construction projects, it also works to reaffirm our commitment to our nation’s service members and veterans,” Congressman Young said. “There’s no question that the VA is still in need of major repair and I believe this legislation takes a number of important steps to improve the services being provided. By making investments in medical treatment, mental health, suicide prevention and other services to modernize and reduce wait times, we are taking serious steps to ensure our veterans receive the quality healthcare and benefits they’ve earned through service to our nation.”

H.R. 4974 provides $7.9 billion for military construction projects, including family housing, military medical facilities, DOD education facilities, and Guard and Reserve facilities. The legislation fully funds numerous FY 2017 military construction projects in Alaska requested by Congressman Don Young, totaling nearly $500 million dollars.


Alaska based Military Construction Projects Requested by Congressman Young:

Clear Air Force Station:

  • $20 million for a Fire Station: Clear AFS supports the Active Air Force and Air National Guard space warning missions, and will soon be the home of Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar. The Clear AFS Fire Department currently occupies a structure built in 1961; a facility inadequate to fulfill the department’s required tasks.
  •  $155 million for Phase 1 of the Long Range Discrimination Radar: This phase is required for deployment of the Long Range Discrimination Radar, a new midcourse tracking radar that will provide persistent coverage and improve lethal object discrimination capabilities against threats to the homeland from the Pacific theater.

 

Eielson Air Force Base:

  • $22 million to renovate the Field Training Detachment Facility for F-35s: This project will renovate the current Field Training Detachment Facility in order to accommodate requirements necessary for the beddown of F-35s at Eielson.
  • $79.5 million to build a 16-bay Weather Shelter for F-35s: This shelter is required to sustain aircraft generation rates during cold weather, mitigate the impact of arctic weather on aircraft support equipment, and maintain overall fleet health.
  •  $11.3 million to build Earth Covered magazines for F-35s: These facilities are necessary to ensure the two F-35A squadrons will have sufficient munitions storage space.
  •  $44.9 million to build a 4 bay hangar/Maintenance/Corrosion Control Facility for F-35s: This facility is needed to ensure the F-35A’s state of the art technology and composite materials used to meet stealth mission criteria receive the necessary maintenance and repairs in a secure, climate controlled environment.

    $42.7 million to build a 4-bay F-35A Maintenance Hangar/Squadron Operations Center:  This facility is necessary to ensure that engine removal/installation and effective maintenance can be performed, critical to ensuring that the F-35A squadrons are able to mobilize quickly, safely, and effectively.
  •  $12.8 million to build a Missile Maintenance Facility for F-35s:  This facility will replace Eielson’s current missile maintenance facility, which is currently in a much degraded condition. The new facility will be larger than the current facility, and will ensure that there is sufficient space to conduct missile maintenance for the two F-35A squadrons.

 

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER):

  • $29.1 million to add to and alter the JBER Alert AWACS Hangar: This project will upgrade the current AWACS aircraft sheltering and maintenance hangar space, as well as repair and expand existing squadron operations spaces. The project is necessary for the 962nd Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS) at JBER to fully accomplish its mission.
  •  $4.9 million for a Fuel Offload Facility: Currently, JBER’s jet fuel is resupplied via a pipeline. In the event of a delay with the pipeline, the mission to supply fuel to the aircraft stationed at JBER will be delayed as well. This project will ensure that, in the event that the pipeline receipt mode stops, JBER will be able to receive fuel in sufficient quantities to satisfy mission requirements by being off-loaded from trucks.

 

Fort Greely:

  • $9.56 million for a Missile Defense Switchgear Facility: This facility is required to provide the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System with increased capabilities for homeland defense. This project constructs a shielded Switchgear Facility providing redundant switchgear units and site electrical infrastructure upgrades to support current survivability and reliability, availability, and maintainability (RAM) requirements.

 

Fort Wainwright:

  • $47 million for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Hangar: Supports operations for the Grey Eagle UAV unit stationed at Fort Wainwright, which serve as a critical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform for the Army and greatly increases training capabilities of Alaska-based soldiers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a total of $73.5 billion in discretionary funding under H.R. 4974, an increase of $13.4 billion from FY16 levels.


VA funding of Alaskan interest supported by Congressman Young:

  • $250 million for Rural Health Initiative:  Continues the VA’s rural health initiative to provide access and quality care to Veterans in rural areas, including home-based primary care, rural Community Based Outpatient Clinics, transportation of rural Veterans, and home-based therapies.
  • $29.3 million for Indian Health Services Reimbursement: Used to reimburse Indian Health Service (IHS) for direct health care services provided to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans in IHS facilities.
  • $7.8 billion for Mental Health Programs: Ensures the VA has the adequate funding for treating veterans with mental health issues. $164 million of this amount is specifically set aside for suicide prevention outreach.


*A state by state military construction projects list can be found here (Alaskan projects are found on page 86). 


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Murkowski, Sullivan, Young Press Interior on Alaska OCS Development

2016/05/18

Washington, D.C. – Alaska’s congressional delegation – Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young – on Tuesday sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging the Department to keep all three lease sales proposed for Alaska’s OCS in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) final Five-Year Program for the years 2017 to 2022.

“The areas under consideration for leasing in Alaska’s OCS contain vast resources that our nation will need to maintain its economy and security. Those resources can be produced safely if a stable, predictable regulatory regime is put in place. Bringing them to market is favored by most Alaskans and will help maintain affordable energy prices for the American people. With longer lead times and considerable investment required for production in the Alaska OCS, it is critical that the process begin now with new, area-wide lease sales,” the members wrote.

The congressional delegation also expressed frustration with the Interior Department’s actions to stifle energy development in the Arctic. The Department has delayed and canceled lease sales that were scheduled for Alaska’s OCS, and included just three lease sales for Alaska in its Proposed Five-Year Program: one in the Beaufort Sea, in 2020; one in the Cook Inlet, in 2021; and one in the Chukchi Sea, in 2022.

The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off of Alaska’s northern coast contain an estimated 23.6 billion barrels of oil and 104.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. An analysis by Northern Economics and the Institute for Social and Economic Research found that development of those resources could create 35,000 jobs and generate billions of dollars in revenues for the state and local governments. Offshore development is also strongly supported by Alaskans, with a 2014 poll finding that 73 percent of local residents support Arctic drilling.

After outlining the economic benefits that would come to Alaska and the nation with expanded energy development in Alaska’s OCS, the delegation concluded the letter by urging Secretary Jewell to keep Alaska’s OCS leases in the proposed plan.

“We ask that you recognize Alaska’s strong preference for expanded OCS development within the Five-Year Program for 2017-2022. We urge you to maintain all three proposed sales for the Alaska OCS in the final Program. We also encourage you to work collaboratively with us to make the fundamental regulatory improvements that are necessary to prudently advance the development of the critical resources located in our state,” the members wrote.

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will press the administration to maintain its proposed lease sales in Alaska’s OCS at Thursday’s oversight hearing on BOEM’s 2017-2022 OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

Full text of the letter is attached and available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee website.

 

###

Read More

2011/04/14

Meeting with Sebastian Donoso, Special Advisor on Indigenous Affairs within the Government of Chile Read More

2011/04/14

Meeting with Benjamin Tucker of the Yakima Nation Read More

2011/04/13

Meeting with 33 Close-Up students from Chugiak High School, East High School, Stellar High School, South Anchorage High School and Yukon Koyukuk Scools Read More

2011/04/13

Meeting with Jackie Johnson, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians Read More

2011/04/13

Meeting with John Katz of the Alaska Governor's Office Read More

2011/04/13

House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing on "American Energy Initiative" with both Senators testifying Read More

2011/04/12

Meeting with Haines Borough Mayor Jan Hill Read More

2011/04/12

Meeting with Dalton Riser, Student Wasilla Read More

2011/04/12

Meeting with Mallory Givens, UAA Student Read More

2011/04/06

Meeting with Sheri Buretta, Ed Herndon and Trudi Komakhuk Read More

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Rep. Don Young: H.R. 5558, VAHighly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act

2016-06-23 22:36:05


Congressman Don Young: Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016

2016-06-08 17:12:29


Congressman Young: Memorial Day Message

2016-05-27 23:05:34


Congressman Young Offering Amendment to WRDA 2016

2016-05-26 19:39:38


Congressman Don Young: USO Care Package Service Project

2016-05-17 21:53:47


Congressman Don Young: Anchorage Land Transfer Act

2016-05-16 21:06:33


Congressman Young: House Works to Combat Nation’s Growing Opioid Epidemic

2016-05-13 17:35:07


Congressman Young: Nurses Appreciation Week

2016-05-11 22:22:35


Congressman Young: May Newsletter

2016-05-11 21:19:54


AK Delegation Meeting with Alaska Close Up Students

2016-04-20 23:18:44


Congressman Young Welcomes Alaska's 2016 Cherry Blossom Princess Nicole Eldred

2016-04-14 22:17:55


Congressman Don Young Reflects on His 43 Years of Service in the U.S. House of Representatives

2016-03-14 23:51:07


Rep. Young Discussing Dog Mushing and the Iditarod

2016-03-03 19:31:44


Media Report: Young Defends ANWR on House Floor

2016-03-03 16:54:15


Don Young Questioning Secretary Sally Jewell Before the House Natural Resources Committee

2016-03-02 23:37:04


H.R. 2406, the SHARE Act: Young Defends Polar Bear Provision

2016-02-26 21:55:27


H.R. 2406, SHARE Act - Amendment to Designate 10-02 Area of ANWR as Wilderness

2016-02-26 19:50:44


H.R. 2406, SHARE Act - Young Amendment to Reverse FWS & NPS Rulemaking

2016-02-26 19:40:10


Congressman Young Discussing H.R. 3650, the State National Forest Management Act

2016-02-25 21:17:48


Congressman Young Discussing Alaska Changes to H.R. 4441, the AIRR Act.

2016-02-12 02:37:44


Contact Information

2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5765
Fax 202-225-0425
donyoung.house.gov

Congressman Don Young was re-elected to the 113th Congress in 2012 to serve his 21st term as Alaska’s only Representative to the United States House of Representatives. First sworn in as a freshman to the 93rd Congress after winning a special election on March 6, 1973, Congressman Young is today the 1st ranking Republican member and the the 4th ranking overall member of the House of Representatives.

Congressman Young served as Chairman of the House Resources Committee from 1995 to 2001 and then as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2001-2007. In the 110th Congress, Representative Young returned to the helm of the Resources Committee to lead his fellow Republicans as the Ranking Member. In the 112th Congress, he was chosen to serve as the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Alaska Native and Indian Affairs.  Rep. Young currently serves as a senior Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Natural Resources Committee.

Congressman Young calls Fort Yukon, Alaska home; a remote village of approximately 700 people located 7 miles above the Arctic Circle in Alaska’s central interior region. Born on June 9, 1933 in Meridian, California, he earned his associate degree at Yuba Junior College in 1952, and his bachelor’s degree in teaching at Chico State College in 1958. Between earning these degrees, he served in the US Army’s 41st Tank Battalion from 1955 to 1957.

When he first moved to Alaska, Congressman Young made a living in construction and tried his hand at commercial fishing, trapping, and in the search for gold. In Fort Yukon he taught in a 25-student, 5th grade elementary class in the Bureau of Indian Affairs school. Constructed of logs, the school had a wood stove that kept his Alaska Native students warm in the sub-freezing, arctic winter. With the annual spring break-up of the river ice, he captained his own tug and barge operation to deliver products and supplies to villages along the Yukon River. Even today, he remains the only licensed mariner in Congress.

It was in Fort Yukon that Rep. Young met and married a young bookkeeper named Lu. Lu was always at the Congressman’s side and supported him throughout his public service career. Lu and Don were married for 46 years, they were blessed with and raised two daughters, Joni and Dawn, and 14 grandchildren. Mrs. Young passed away on August 2, 2009.

Congressman Young first entered public service in 1964 when he was elected Mayor of Fort Yukon. Two years later, Alaskan voters elected him to the State Legislature in Juneau where he served in the State House from 1966 to 1970, and later in the State Senate from 1970 to 1973. Just hours after being sworn in to United States House of Representatives in 1973, he found himself leading the historic battle for approval of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. Often citing this as the single most important achievement in his career, Congressman Young stated, “Next to statehood itself, the most historical legislation passed that affected every Alaskan then, now, and in the future, was the passage of the pipeline legislation.”

That same year, his colleagues honored him as the “Freshman Congressman of the Year.” He went on to gain a key appointment on the then Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where he pushed through the 200-mile fishing limit critical to Alaska’s fishing industry. He fought against federal control of lands and resources to which Alaskans are rightfully entitled – a battle he continues today with the same vigor. In 1997, he passed by a 419-1 vote, the National Wildlife Improvement Act, which sets guidelines for the nation’s 500-plus wildlife refuges.

Congressman Young proudly serves as the “Congressman for All Alaska” and loves his role as the only Alaskan Representative in Congress. Renewed by the challenges and goals of the 111th Congress and his committee positions, Congressman Young will continue to champion legislation and funding for programs benefiting Alaska and the nation. His vision remains the same – to provide citizens with the opportunity for a better life not just for today, but also for tomorrow and the future.


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