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Representative Mary Sattler Peltola highlights Alaskan provisions in National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, D.C. –  Today, Representative Mary Sattler Peltola voted for H.R. 7776, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 which contained important provisions for Alaskans. 

“This bill authorizes $847.3 billion in discretionary spending for national defense for FY 2023 and makes significant quality of life improvements for our service members and their families,” said Peltola. “I’m especially pleased that it included assistance that will directly benefit Alaska military families.”

The bill includes much of the Don Young Arctic Warrior Act which calls for funding to help improve the quality of life for service members stationed in Alaska as well as devoting more federal resources to preventing suicide across the military.  It specifically requires a new plan to ensure that remote installations are given priority for the assignment of behavioral health providers. Peltola had recently written a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees requesting they include these provisions in the bill.  Additionally, the bill calls for a special duty pay (“Arctic Pay”) based on cold weather conditions for service members in Alaska. 

Other Alaska specific provisions include: 

-Authorization of up to $150 million for the acquisition of a commercially available icebreaker for the U.S. Coast Guard.

-Improvements to Western Alaska Oil Pollution Standards by directing the Coast Guard to adopt new standards for oil spill response organizations. 

-Creates a program for projects to address storm damage prevention and reduction, coastal erosion, and ice and glacial damage in Alaska with a 10% cost share for economically disadvantaged communities to match U.S. Army Corps funding—a significant benefit over the existing 35% local cost share.

-Reauthorizes the Marine Mammal Protection Act while increasing the study of marine mammal strandings and assessing training and resource needs in the Arctic. 

- Extends the ability of the Port Infrastructure Development Grants program for one year to pay for shoreside dock electrification projects that serve passenger vessels and cargo vessels. 

-Authorizes $99 million for an Army physical fitness annex construction at Fort Wainwright; $72 million for Air Force dormitory housing construction at Cedar Space Force Station; and $63 million for Army Guard aircraft maintenance hangar military construction at JBER.