Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed S. 756, the Save Our Seas Act, a bill to assist local communities and states in removing garbage and debris from our oceans and shores. House Oceans Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the bill, H.R. 2748, last year.
“In Alaska, we know first-hand the lasting impacts of marine debris,” said Alaska Congressman Don Young. “The Save Our Seas Act is an important piece of legislation that ensures our communities have the tools they need to combat the growing problem of marine debris. The bill authorizes funding for programs run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Coast Guard that are aimed at addressing current marine debris. Additionally, the bill requires NOAA to work with other federal agencies to mitigate sources of marine debris and to promote international efforts to reduce marine debris worldwide. Ensuring that the U.S. and our global partners have access to the necessary resources is crucial to ending the marine debris crisis. I want to thank Congresswoman Bonamici – she and I are Co-Chairs of the House Oceans Caucus and have worked on this issue for quite some time. I’m proud to support this legislation and I appreciate my colleagues in the House and my Senator Dan Sullivan for their hard work on this bill.”
“The health of our oceans reflects the health of our planet, and we must do more to keep garbage out of the ocean and off of our shores,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “Marine debris is entirely preventable, but more than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans each year, harming our coastal economies, endangering marine life, destroying important marine habitat, propagating invasive species, and creating hazardous conditions for the maritime industry. I was proud to work with my fellow House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair Don Young on this bill to strengthen federal support for preventing and responding to marine debris events.”
Bonamici and Young spoke on the House floor to encourage their colleagues to support final passage. You can download video footage of Bonamici speaking here, and Young speaking here.
The Save Our Seas Act reauthorizes the NOAA Marine Debris Program through Fiscal Year 2022 and provides resources to help states respond to severe marine debris events. The bill allows the NOAA Administrator, in coordination with relevant Governors, to declare severe marine debris events, authorize funding to assist with cleanup and response, and encourage international engagement to address the growing effects of marine debris.
Healthy beaches and waterways are critical to the marine ecosystems that drive the economy in coastal communities. More than 3 million jobs in the U.S. rely on our oceans, contributing at least $352 billion in economic activity annually.
The House Oceans Caucus is a bipartisan group of House members committed to taking action to protect the health and future of our oceans. In addition to marine debris, the Caucus focuses on efforts to address ocean acidification, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and weather and natural disaster hazards that threaten coastal communities and wildlife.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 6147 the Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 19). Alaska Congressman Don Young secured a number of amendments to the legislation that benefit Alaska. This bill provides $58.675 billion in total discretionary budget authority for agencies within the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. This includes $35.252 billion for the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies and $24.423 billion for the financial services and general government provisions.
“Alaska has a long history of placer mining operations, which began in the early 1800’s, and continue today,” said Congressman Young. “In fact, Alaska is one of the only places that still has placer mining operations and while these operations are small – they represent a robust industry in Alaska and provide hundreds of jobs while contributing to the growth of rural Alaskan communities. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Fortymile Plan, finalized in the last days of the previous administration, upended decades of successful placer mining land management in the Fortymile Planning Area. This Plan imposed an overly complex framework on placer mining. The Fortymile miners had already agreed to environmental remediation standards, and these changes add an increased financial burden.”
Watch Congressman Young’s remarks here.
Congressman Young continued, “The BLM has made it very difficult for the mom and pop placer mining operations in Alaska to continue their work. My amendment to this year’s Interior Appropriation bill would prohibit funds from being used by the BLM to change its existing placer mining plans of operation with regard to re-vegetation.”
This amendment was approved by the House by a voice vote.
Native American Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Assistance Program
“This program supports critical economic development in Native communities around the nation, which face significant barriers to accessing basic financial services and capital. For example, almost all Alaska Native villages in my state do not have banks and are not connected to the road system,” said Congressman Young. “The Native Program provides financial assistance and technical assistance awards on a competitive basis to Native CDFIs, allowing them to effectively build wealth and further economic self-determination in Native communities. These mission-driven Native organizations are working to finance businesses, create jobs, expand and improve affordable housing options, and much more.”
Watch Congressman Young’s remarks here.
Congressman Young continued, “The Native program accounts for a small portion of the Fund’s overall budget but has a significant positive impact, which includes empowering Alaska Natives to improve their economic wellbeing in my home state. Without my amendment, a cut to the Native program in FY 2019 would be especially devastating to our nation’s impoverished and underserved Native communities.”
This amendment was approved by the House by a voice vote.
H.R. 6147 passed out of the House by a vote of 217-199.
Floor Amendments Congressman Young Secured
Placer Mining amendment
Congressman Young’s amendment will prohibit funds from being used by BLM to change its existing placer mining plans of operations with regard to remediation. The BLM Fortymile Resource Management Plan (Fortymile Plan), finalized in the last days of the previous administration, upended decades of successful land management in the Fortymile Planning Area. The Fortymile Plan imposed an overly complex regulatory framework on small-scale placer mining operations, as part of an effort to discourage such activity in the area. The Fortymile miners previously agreed to environmental remediation standards, and under the new Plan they are expected to reclaim land that they have not mined and mitigate in ways they did not agree to in their approved operation plans. They are expected to remediate land that was impacted by placer mining over the past 100 years, which adds to their financial burden and makes it economically impractical for miners to continue their operations. The Fortymile Plan is unnecessary and over burdensome to small mining operations, and has already caused disruptions in the region.
Native CDFI amendment
Congressman Young’s amendment will restore full funding for the Native American CDFI Assistance Program. The CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives, including the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program, were launched in 2001 to help Native communities overcome these barriers by supporting the creation and expansion of Native CDFIs. The NACA Program provides Financial Assistance (FA) and Technical Assistance (TA) awards on a competitive basis to Native CDFIs, allowing them to effectively build wealth and economic self-determination in Native communities. Since the launch of NACA, the number of certified Native CDFIs has grown from 7 to 73 with still more organizations seeking certification. It is critical that the NACA program is adequately funded to support the work of established and emerging Native CDFIs. This amendment is supported by the Native CDFI Network and Alaska Growth Capital BIDCO, Alaska’s first Business Development Corporation (BIDCO).
Language Congressman Young Secured in the Bill
Revenue Sharing language
Congressman Young worked to secure language that provides 3% revenue sharing with Alaska Native Corporations for funds collected from Congressionally approved resource development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Last year when Congress was considering the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Alaska delegation pushed to include the revenue sharing provision in the ANWR language, but due to a Senate parliamentary rule, it was not in the final bill. Congressman Young worked with Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to ensure that Alaska Natives benefit from this funding, which reflects the principles of revenue sharing established in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA). Passing this provision fulfills the commitment to Alaska Natives and reflects the original intent of the language in the tax bill, which was structured, including a significant increase in royalty revenues, to accommodate this addition. The 3% non-federal share will support the health and well-being of Alaska Natives and reflects a long-standing agreement between the Alaska Delegation and the Alaska Native community along with input from the State. The revenue sharing agreement was always intended to be structured in this manner; the State of Alaska has understood this dynamic and has anticipated a 47% non-federal share. In total, Alaska stands to receive billions of dollars from the non-federal share, which is crucial to reinvigorating the state’s economy. Click here to read the letters of support for this provision.
Alaska Relevant Provisions:
Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young and U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) praised the House-passage of S.717, the Pro Bono Work to Empower and Represent (POWER) Act. The POWER Act, as amended in the U.S. House, mandates that each year for four years, the Chief Judge of each Judicial District across the country hold at least one event promoting pro bono legal services as a critical way to empower survivors of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, engage citizens, and help lift victims out of the cycle of violence. The bill also requires that every two years for four years, an event be held in areas with high numbers of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, with a focus on addressing these issues among Native populations.”
“Domestic violence is a tear in fabric of our society and no one is immune to it – unfortunately far too many Alaskans have first-hand experience with this reality,” said Congressman Young. “In a 2015 survey of Alaskan victims of domestic violence, out of every 100 women surveyed at least 40 experienced intimate partner violence and 33 women experienced sexual violence. Not only must we do more to prevent this devastating epidemic from growing, but we must also do more to help survivors of domestic violence. The POWER Act does just that. This bill is an important step for providing domestic violence victims with increased access to the pro bono legal tools available to help stem the tide of violence in our communities.”
“The statistics on victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Alaska and across the country are horrific,” said Senator Sullivan. “Roughly 25 percent of American women will be victims of domestic assault in their lifetime. On average, every day in our country, three women are killed by a current or former partner. Combatting this twin scourge has been one of my priorities in the Senate and the need for urgent action is now. My hope is that the bipartisan POWER Act will help create an army of lawyers to defend victims of abuse. I’m grateful for the support of Congressman Young, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), and a bipartisan coalition in the House and Senate that offered their support for this legislation. I look forward to its timely passage in the Senate.”
Background on the POWER Act
The National Network to End Domestic Violence estimated that over the course of one day in September 2014, up to 10,000 requests for services by abused women, including legal representation, weren’t met because of lack of resources.
Studies have shown that when abuse victims are represented by an attorney, their ability to break out of the cycle of violence increases dramatically. For example, one study found that 83 percent of victims represented by an attorney were able to obtain a protective order compared to just 32 percent of victims without an attorney.
The POWER Act is modeled after the pro bono summits Senator Sullivan organized throughout the state while he was Attorney General of Alaska working on the Choose Respect campaign.
The POWER Act was introduced in the Senate by Senator Sullivan and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Murkowski (R-AK), Capito (R-WV), Cornyn (R-TX) and Daines (R-MT) also were original co-sponsors of the bill. It passed the Senate unanimously in August 2017. Congressman Young, alongside Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced companion legislation in the House in March 2017.
In recent months, Senator Dan Sullivan worked with stakeholders to clarify language within S. 717 in order to ensure its timely passage in the House. The amended S. 717 now returns to the Senate, where it will once again require passage before heading to the President’s desk.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 200 the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act sponsored by Alaska Congressman Don Young.
“The North Pacific is the gold standard of fisheries management, and in Alaska the fishing industry is crucial to our local economies and livelihood,” said Congressman Young. “It’s been over a decade since Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) was reauthorized which is why I’m proud to see this bill pass out of the House today with bipartisan support. My bill will update MSA to ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities. We know that each region works within their unique conditions which is why I fought to ensure the management process will be improved by allowing regional fisheries to develop plans that meet their local needs. I am proud to say my bill protects our commercial and recreational fishing interests, and will allow Councils to do their jobs in a more streamlined and effective manner. I thank my colleagues who helped pass this important fisheries legislation today which will deliver much needed relief to this industry. I look forward to working with my Senators to see this legislation get to the President’s desk."
“Improving how we manage our fisheries will help us be better stewards of our resources, while bolstering an economic engine for our country,” said House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah). “This bill provides much needed flexibility for fishery managers and creates greater fishing access for the public. I want to thank Reps. Young and Graves for their tireless efforts to work across the aisle and move this bill through the House. With this bipartisan vote, the ball is now in the Senate’s court, and we will work with them to get a final bill to the president’s desk.”
The National Coalition for Fishing Communities echoed support for H.R. 200 and said, “We want a Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) that allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. We firmly believe that Congress can meet these goals by allowing for more flexibility in management, eliminating arbitrary rebuilding timelines, and adding other reforms that better take into account the complex challenges facing commercial fishermen. The concept of flexibility is supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service and it is time Congress makes it a requirement of MSA.”
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act (MSA) was first written by Congressman Young in 1975 and has been the primary law governing marine management in U.S. federal waters. Since its last reauthorization in 2006, federal regulations, improper science, and poor management decisions have hampered access to U.S. fisheries. H.R. 200 will improve the management process by affording regional Councils the flexibility to manage stocks effectively and better tailor management plans to suit their regional needs. Specifically the bill:
By: Congressman Don Young
Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries. As my colleagues and my state know, I’ve been on the frontlines for the fight for our fisheries for over 40 years - and I have no intentions of letting up.
After creating an initial framework, former Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) and I collaborated with former Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Warren Magnuson (D-Wash.) to enact the original Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) in 1976. This act promotes the conservation, management, and stewardship of our fishery resources in the federal waters of the United States. Under the law exists eight Regional Fishery Management Councils tasked with the formidable mission of managing fisheries in federal waters along the coasts of the United States. Without this act, access to commercial fishing wouldn’t exist.
MSA is serious business, and a true testament to how bipartisan efforts can improve policies that impact millions and affect our economy. Ignoring the way traditional fisheries’ management legislation succeeds discards the many years of hard work, collaboration, and compromise required to achieve reauthorizations in the past.
We need to keep MSA on a bipartisan footing. Efforts have been made in the past to stoke partisanship on this issue and have led to legislative failure. Unfortunately, though, D.C. is plagued with a short memory. I’ve been around long enough to know the hyper-partisan mentality my Democratic colleagues subscribe to isn’t realistic, or helpful. It ends up hurting our fisheries.
All along, my goal in the legislative process has been to work across the aisle so we could achieve passage in committee and then success on the House floor. This would send a clear message across the Capitol that the American people demand congressional action for healthy fisheries.
In Alaska, we know that thousands of livelihoods depend on our world-class fishery resources. This is ultimately why Congress must provide certainty to commercial fisherman and their industry. Everyone, from the fishermen to the bait shop owner, plays a vital role in providing the infrastructure that supports our recreational and commercial fishing industries. They must be heard, respected, and treated fairly. But I refused to sell out my constituents, fishermen across the country and the broad array stakeholders who worked tirelessly with me for years on fine-tuning this legislation.
The current reauthorization legislation on the table, H.R. 200, reauthorizes the MSA for the first time in over a decade. It has the needed type of collaborative, stakeholder-driven support that previous successful reauthorization efforts enjoyed. That’s because this reauthorization wasn’t created overnight – it has been carefully developed over the past five years with input from experts in fisheries’ science, commercial and recreational fishing groups, and a wide array of regional perspectives.
We must remain committed to the bipartisan, bicameral tradition of fisheries management and my legislation accomplishes just that.
Young serves as the most senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee.Read More
Secretary of Interior and Congressional Delegation Congratulate Alaskan Tara Sweeney on Confirmation as Assistant Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the Alaska Congressional Delegation today issued the following statements after the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to confirm Alaskan Tara Sweeney to be the next U.S. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior.
“Congratulations to Tara on her confirmation. She is a results-driven team leader and coalition builder who has an impressive combination of business acumen and service to her community,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Her lifelong active engagement in Native American policy development and her outreach, advocacy, and organization skills are the combination we need to carry out the President’s reform initiative for Indian Country. I look forward to welcoming her to the Department."
“Tara is a natural leader and has been an influential voice for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Congressman Don Young. “Throughout her years of dedicated service to Alaska Native communities, she has championed the economic and social well-being of our First Peoples and the spirit of tribal self-determination. Her career has been marked by many notable successes and I’m very proud that she has been entrusted to positively shape the future of BIA. I’m confident that in her new role, she will bring her years of experience and her vision to empower our Native communities. As the first Alaska Native to hold this position, she is an exceptional representation of the Last Frontier. Congratulations on this well-deserved confirmation, Tara.”
“I believe that if anyone is up to this hard and difficult task that it is Tara Sweeney,” said Senator Murkowski. “She has the determination and tenacity to take on this challenge and achieve remarkable things in her position. She truly has a heart for all Native people. As a proud Inupiaq, she has lived first-hand the challenges that many in Indian Country face. Her talents as a manager will serve her well in the position of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, and she will do everything in her power to bring the agencies under her back on course. I’m proud to see her confirmed, and now it is time for her to start kicking down doors and get to work.”
“I thank my colleagues for voting for the historic confirmation of Tara Sweeney to become our next Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, an extremely important position not only for Alaska but the nation,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “Tara has a long history of relentlessly advocating for Alaska Native cultural values, rights, and economic opportunity. She will bring this focus and determination to all Indigenous people throughout the country. I am absolutely certain that there is no one who will work harder for the rights, for the economic empowerment, and for the culture of America’s First Peoples than Tara Sweeney. It’s a great day for Alaska and a great day for our country.”
“I am honored to be confirmed to serve Indian Country in this capacity,” said Tara Sweeney. “My goal is to develop strong relationships with Tribes, Alaska Native corporations, and Native Hawaiian Organizations to work on innovative solutions for lifting up our communities. I am motivated to work with Indian Country to find efficiencies inside the Bureau of Indian Affairs, improve service delivery and culturally relevant curriculum in the Bureau of Indian Education, and create a more effective voice for Tribes throughout the Federal Government. Thank you to Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, Congressman Young, AFN, and NCAI for their unwavering support. I am also thankful for the bipartisan support for my nomination. I am humbled by the confidence President Trump and Secretary Zinke have shown in me and I am ready to serve.”
On October 17, 2017, President Trump nominated Tara Sweeney to be the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, one of five assistant secretaries at the Department of the Interior, reporting to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs supports the Secretary of the Interior in fulfilling the United States’ trust responsibility to the federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages and individual Indian trust beneficiaries, as well as in upholding the Federal-Tribal government-to-government relationship.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6157, the Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). Alaska Congressman Don Young supported the legislation and issued the following statement after its passage:
“Supporting our men and women in uniform is one of my greatest responsibilities in Congress,” said Congressman Young. “Passing the FY19 DoD Appropriations bill today is important so we can restore our military readiness and invest in proper training, equipment and resources for our Armed Forces. This bill also secures funding to modernize our military and support our troops with the largest pay raise in nearly ten years. This legislation ensures stability in the Department’s funding so they can carry out their mission to defend and protect our nation.”
Congressman Young continued, “I am particularly pleased that this year’s bill invests and recognizes Alaska’s role in military operations. Of the many Alaska focused provisions, I secured funding for F-35 procurement as well as an investment in air operations training which is crucial for our preparedness. This bill provides continued funding for the Missile Defense Agency’s Long Range Discrimination Radar program and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, which is primarily located at Fort Greely. This is crucial to protecting our nation from a foreign missile attack. Additionally, I cosponsored an amendment, which passed with strong bipartisan support, for the Fisher House Foundation which provides lodging and transportation for military and veterans’ families while their loved one is receiving related medical care – a mission that has served many Alaskans. I am proud to support this bill because both Alaska and our nation stand to benefit significantly from this.”
With broad bipartisan support, H.R. 6157 passed out of the House by a vote of 359-49. This bill provides $674.6 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense for FY19. The bill provides $606.5 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, which is an increase of $17.1 billion above FY18 levels, and $68.1 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account to support the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). This funding level is consistent with the National Defense Authorization Act as well as the recently enacted budget agreement.
Alaska Specific Victories:
After weeks of consideration, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on two pieces of legislation to address immigration, H.R. 4760 the Securing America’s Future Act and H.R. 6136 the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act. Alaska Congressman Don Young issued the following statement:
“Our country’s current immigration system needs to be updated to meet the growing border security challenges which is why I believe legislative action must be taken,” said Congressman Young. “Both of the bills the House has voted on recently provided meaningful reforms to our immigration laws to better secure our borders, stop illegal immigration and close many of the enforcement loopholes. Additionally, these bills would have established a resolution for DACA recipients and codified an assurance that families won’t be separated at the border. I supported both measures because I believe Congress, not the Executive Branch, should be writing the laws that govern our country and we need all options on the table for developing the best legislative approach. I am disappointed that my colleagues in the House did not support this opportunity to improve our immigration policies – this is an issue we can no longer politicize. While neither of the bills were perfect solutions, I believe Congress needs to act and I remain committed to considering future immigration legislation.”
“Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the Committee taking up S. 756, sponsored by my Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska which is a companion bill to my legislation H.R. 2748, which addresses plastics in our oceans,” said Congressman Young. “As a member of the Oceans Caucus, I know that we need to address this issue very quickly and this bill is a step in the right direction…I hope everyone here recognizes this is one of the biggest problems we have in our oceans today. This issue affects our fisheries, our coastlines – and possibly the decline in our fisheries due to the invasion of these harmful plastic products.”
Watch Congressman Young’s Committee remarks here.
Congressman Young continued, “This legislation is an important step to ensuring the U.S. and our international partners have the resources necessary to manage and address marine debris events in a timely and effective effort. With that, I urge members to support this legislation.”
S. 756 passed out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee by unanimous consent. Marine debris is considered a growing global crisis that requires collaborative work with partners from across the world. Current authorizations for marine debris removal programs have expired, and without this legislation, there will continue to be a lack of resources to address the looming issue. The Save Our Seas Act will help confront the marine debris crisis by:
Congressman Young is the Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus which works to promote efforts in addressing the global marine debris crisis affecting our oceans and increasing awareness about responsible ocean policy. Earlier this month, on World Ocean’s Day, Congressman Young and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) authored the op-ed, “We Must Act to Protect the Health and Future of Our Oceans” which can be read here.
Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young voted in support of H.R 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. Congressman Young is an original cosponsor of this legislation and issued the following statement after House passage:
“Anyone who lives in Southeast Alaska can tell you that sea lions, seals, and sea otters are destructive to fisheries if not properly managed. Sea lions have moved inland and up the Columbia River into salmon spawning grounds – areas they were not found in 30 years ago,” said Congressman Young. “The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act is a step in the right direction to manage out-of-control sea lion populations. This legislation will help Pacific Northwest states and Tribes manage the sea lion population which will allow endangered salmon and steelhead to recover and reach healthy population sizes. I am a proud to cosponsor this legislation and pleased to see it pass out of the House today with bipartisan support.”
H.R. 2083 passed out of the House by a vote of 288-116. This bill allows for the humane management of sea lions on a limited basis to assist in the recovery of salmon in the Columbia River watershed. Sea lion consumption of salmon has dramatically increased since 2015 and experts estimate a 90% probability of Columbia River salmon extinction as a result of sea lion predation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cited California sea lions as a significant factor in the initial listing of salmon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). H.R. 2083 assists in the recovery of salmon by authorizing Commerce to issue permits to states and tribes for the lethal taking of sea lions that are decimating ESA-listed salmon and establishes scientific management limits so that the authorities don’t result in sea lion mortality exceeding 10% of the biologically acceptable limit.
2314 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.