The White House said Tuesday that it will include funding to help Alaska and the Arctic cope with the challenging effects of climate change as part of its fiscal year 2017 budget request.
The biggest piece of its climate spending proposal comes from a $2 billion fund to help coastal communities deal with sea-level rise. Of that, $400 million will be allocated over 10 years "to cover the unique circumstances confronting vulnerable Alaskan communities, including relocation expenses for Alaska native villages threatened by rising seas, coastal erosion and storm surges," according to a White House fact sheet issued ahead of the main budget release.
The request also proposed $900 million to the Interior Department's budget to beef up a land conservation program it runs to respond to climate change.
The budget proposes "full funding" for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF. The White House pointed out that the amount of funding is "equal to the oil and gas receipts deposited in the LWCF each year."
"This total includes $475 million in discretionary funds and $425 million in mandatory funds," the fact sheet noted. Mandatory funds are less susceptible to the congressional appropriations process than discretionary funding. "Of this amount, $21 million is for sportsmen and recreational access."
In sticking with its Arctic climate priorities, the president proposed setting aside $150 million to help design a new polar icebreaker ship, which the U.S. has very few of compared to Russia.
It also proposed funding across a number of agencies to help Alaska. The Denali project, an independent agency that looks for solutions to Alaska's unique energy problems, would get a $19 million boost, "including an additional $4 million above the FY16 enacted level, to coordinate Federal, State, and Tribal assistance to communities to develop and implement solutions to address the impacts of climate change."
Another $100 million would be spread out across the departments of Agriculture, Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs, Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency for programs to make Alaskan communities more resilient to climate change.