22nd Alaska State Legislature
News from Senator Alan Austerman

 
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Coast Guard Needs Continued Federal Support

For Immediate Release:


February 16, 2001

Contact:


Senator Alan Austerman at (907) 465-2487

(JUNEAU) - The Alaska Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Friday urging the United States Congress to fully fund the U.S. Coast Guard.

Since its inception over 200 years ago, the Coast Guard has served the United States in a number of ways: augmenting the Navy in times of war and protecting our waters from pollution, our borders from drug smuggling, our fisheries from over-harvesting. The combination of the Coast Guard's military structure, law enforcement authority and humanitarian functions make it a uniquely effective arm of our uniformed services.

The most visible function of the Coast Guard is its high seas search and rescue missions. With 6,640 miles of coastline, Alaska depends on the Coast Guard to help keep our recreational and professional sailors safe.

"Just yesterday a Coast Guard helicopter picked up three men as their fishing boat sank," said Alan Austerman (R-Kodiak), sponsor of the resolution. "This highlights how valuable the Coast Guard is to Alaska."

The Coast Guard has also been on the forefront of boating safety, reducing the boating fatality rate by almost two-thirds since 1965 through public education.

Senate Joint Resolution 10 urges the Congress to fully fund the U.S. Coast Guard's operational readiness and recapitalization requirements to ensure that it will be able to continue protecting our shores and our people.

"As funding continues to be cut by Congress, Alaskans have to ensure that our congressional delegation and the White House know how important the Guard is to Alaska and this country," said Austerman.

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