FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sheela McLean
News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reconfirmed a decision to build a fisheries research facility at Lena Point in Juneau, Alaska.
When bids for building construction at Lena Point came in unexpectedly high in May 2002, NOAA Fisheries re-examined its options to build within available funds. On the table for consideration were construction at Lena Point on a smaller scale, or some combination of renovation and construction at the existing research facility at Auke Bay and at the port that services NOAA research vessels that dock in downtown Juneau.
“We took a hard look at our options within the existing budget and Lena Point has the best potential to meet our future needs,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA administrator. ”This facility will accommodate future expansion, including co-location with the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and ensures that we keep commitments to the city and borough of Juneau. We want to thank Senator Stevens and the Alaskan congressional delegation, as well as all the state and Juneau city officials who worked with us throughout this process.”
“The admiral brought Alaskans good news today," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). "Many in Juneau have been awaiting the construction of the new NOAA fisheries laboratory and I was delighted to learn that NOAA is committed to placing the proposed facility at Lena Point."
“The decision to go with the Lena Point facility is a win for Juneau and a win for Alaska,” said Governor Frank Murkowski (R-AK). “The new lab facilities will provide the science and research necessary to prioritize the issues and the management of the fisheries, and will serve Alaska's fishing community for years to come."
Because the Lena Point project will be redesigned, construction is not yet scheduled and the project will be rebid. Due largely to the efforts of Sen. Stevens, $51 million has been appropriated for the facility over the course of several years.
NOAA, which is part of the Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.
On the Net:
NOAA Fisheries: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov
Fisheries Alaska: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/