Sullivan: Here come funds for Nome deep port

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The National Defense Authorization Act has key victories for Alaska strategic infrastructure, the result of work by Sen. Dan Sullivan. Among those victories is increased funding for the Nome Arctic Deep Draft Port, and authorization for the Elim Subsistence Harbor project.

Sullivan, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, celebrated the passage yesterday of the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 on the Senate floor by a vote of 83 to 11 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“Alaska is a resource-rich, but infrastructure-poor state,” Sullivan said. “The Army Corps of Engineers continues to do its vital work throughout Alaska, and this legislation provides the tools needed to support new water resources infrastructure and improve existing projects. Since serving as a senator for Alaska, I’ve been advocating for projects that will help our state realize its full economic potential and keep our citizens safe. 

“I also want to thank my fellow committee members for their continued recognition of the vital role Nome’s deep-water port will play in advancing America’s capabilities in the Arctic. The Port of Nome is positioned to play a critical role in ensuring the United States is a leader in the Arctic region in terms of national security, international trade, and geopolitical influence.”

Key provisions for Alaska in WRDA 2022:

  • – In recognition of the strategic importance to the nation, the bill modifies the cost share for Nome Arctic Deep Draft Port to provide the community with an estimated savings of $132 million.
  • – 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.
  • – Authorizes the navigation project for the Elim Subsistence Harbor: Federal cost share: $99.057 million. Nonfederal cost-share: $2.517 million.  Total cost: $101.574 million.
  • – Authorizes the Corps to dredge a deeper entrance channel in Unalaska Bay to meet keel clearance safety standards while maintaining the cost share for the community at the existing amount.
  • – Provides relief to the City of St. George from retroactive cost increases associated with the previously completed harbor project.
  • – Directs the Corps to expedite the Juneau Auke Bay wave attenuator study, and, upon completion, to immediately proceed to preconstruction planning, engineering, and design.
  • – Authorizes and improves the Tribal Partnership Program, revising the cost share requirements for projects and studies carried out in partnership with Indian tribes.
  • – Requires each Corps district to have on staff a Tribal liaison to serve as a direct line of communication between the District Commander and the Tribal communities.
  • – Improves the technical assistance authorities of the Corps.

Timeline on the Port of Nome Expansion: 

  • Water resource projects developed by the U.S. Army Corps undergo a multi-stage process. Each stage of the process must qualify for an existing authorization or receive a separate authorization from Congress, as well as receive congressional appropriation at each stage to proceed. Congress authorizes the Corps’ actions through periodic Water Resource Development Acts in the Senate EPW Committee and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  

  • In 2012, the Corps launched the Alaska Deep Draft Arctic Port System Study to evaluate potential locations on the northern and western coasts of Alaska, and to determine the feasibility of constructing navigation improvements as part of a larger system of port facilities in the Arctic and sub-Arctic region. Following the selection of Nome as the location for an Arctic port, the Corps began a feasibility study, assessing the costs of the port versus the benefits. The Corps paused the feasibility study following the departure of Shell Oil Company from the Arctic, which significantly tipped the cost-benefit ratio against the port project. 
  • In the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, Senator Sullivan and the late Rep. Don Young included two provisions to justify a potential Arctic port based on its value to surrounding communities and its importance to national security. 
  • In 2017, following enactment of the WIIN Act, senior Corps leaders committed to Sullivan and Young to utilize the new authority to restart the feasibility study for the port.
  • On February 2, 2018, the City of Nome and the Corps initiated a cost-sharing agreement.
  • On October 23, 2018, President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA), which included Sullivan-Young language to expedite completion of a Corps feasibility study for the Nome port.
  • On May 29, 2020, the Corps announced the completion of the chief’s report for the Port of Nome Modification Feasibility Study, making the project eligible for congressional authorization and funding.
  • In December 2020, President Trump signed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, which included language, championed by Sullivan and Young, authorizing $379 million for the federal share of the Nome Deep Draft Port Project.
  • On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. The bill provides $250 million over five years for the construction of remote and subsistence harbor projects. These projects are in locations that are not connected to a road system, and the ports are vital to the long-term viability of the community.
  • On January 19, 2022, the Corps of Engineers announced that the entire $250 million from the IIJA for remote and subsistence harbor projects will be directed to the Port of Nome.
  • On July 28, 2022, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022. The legislation includes key victories for Alaska infrastructure, including increased cost-sharing for the Nome Deep Draft Port Project.

20 COMMENTS

  1. If you’re really gonna do it, then make sure a rail line goes from Fairbanks to Nome.

    If you’re gonna do it, do it right.

    Love the idea, but doubt the delivery.

    Pity this didn’t happen 30 years ago. I love Nome and would have loved being a part of it. Maybe not as many nights in Board of Trade, however. Epic nights, epic hangovers.

  2. The Sierra Club, Trustees for Alaska and the rest of the enviro-nazis will have this locked up for a generation or more.

  3. I just can’t make myself trust this man anymore. When they actually build the port, I will believe this one. Surely there are environmental issues that will stop this from happening and he knows it. Trying to gaslight us again. Saving face, like they are teaching him. To put it in English, B.S.

    • ????? This is an expansion of an existing Port. Snake River has migrating salmon. Not too difficult to work around that. We never had trouble permitting our airport work adjacent to the silt laden Snake River

  4. Wow, haven’t heard from Dan for a long, long time. Looks like he’s taking some cues from Lisa. Billions from Uncle Joe then patting himself on the back for all the work he’s done. More Inflation on the way.

  5. A barge to nowhere, instead of a bridge, if you don’t have a highway or rail line out of Nome. Maybe time to buy land for a container yard cause they’ll arrive and have nowhere to go. I’ve never seen a container-capable dog sled.

  6. Glad he’s celebrating this accomplishment and wants to keep Alaskans ‘safe’ but I just messaged Sullivan to please, please stop the massive amount of people that continue to flood our Southern Border. This crisis definitely will (and probably already is) impacting our strained public resources. Catholic charities and the other NGO’s are flying plane loads of unvetted illegals all over the country and does anyone truly think Alaska won’t be a destination? It’s as though congress lives in a completely different world than what is really happening to our nation.

  7. Don’t trust him. Another give away to a Native corp. They are rubbing thier hands together. Track money given to he and murky. Will never vote for him again.

  8. Lisa Murkowski also deserves a lot of credit for this. Why is she not given any credit in the story? Say her name.

  9. Well Dan, what happened to the 1 trillion so called infrastructure bill that was supposed to do this? Now you are saying the NDAA is going to do this? You really don’t have a clue where the money is going do you. You’re really just paying off your lobbyists aren’t you.

  10. Another attempt to manipulate conservatives impressions of a deep state RINO because he got billions and billions of dollars for pork barrel projects – most of which will never happen due to environmental “issues”.
    The irony is rich…
    At least Sullivan cares about the trannies – he’s a “compassionate conservative” – right.

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