More than a dozen communities statewide will receive nearly $31 million in federal payments designed to offset costs to essential services, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced Thursday.

The distribution is part of a federal payment in lieu of taxes program that compensates communities with federal lands that are not subject to state or local taxes.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough ($3.7 million) and the Kenai Peninsula ($3.2 million) will receive the largest payouts.

The geographic distribution touches the North Slope Borough ($1.3 million), two Aleutians census areas ($1.8 million collectively) and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough ($1.2 million) to the south.

In a news release, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski hailed the news.

“This funding helps keep schools up and running, provides support for life-saving emergency services, and helps ensure police officers and firefighters are able to do their jobs as effectively as possible,” Murkowski said.

“We worked hard in the appropriations process to ensure Alaska received robust funding for this program,” she said. “Now, as the Department of the Interior disburses these payments, Alaskans across the state will benefit from this economic boost.”

The Interior collects nearly $12 billion annually from commercial activity on federal lands — oil and gas leases, livestock grazing, timber harvesting. A portion then gets shared with state boroughs, cities and parishes, according to to the Department of Interior. The department's release did not say when the payments will be distributed.

Other communities to receive funds are:

Community

Amount

Bethel $2 million
Bristol Bay Borough $162,000
Denali Borough $387,000
Dillingham census area $919,000
Fairbanks Northstar Borough $468,000
Haines Borough $373,000
Hoonah census area $400,000
City and Borough of Juneau $2.4 million
Kodiak Borough $1.5 million
Kusilvuk census area $1.2 million
Lake and Peninsula Borough $302,000
Municipality of Anchorage $728,000
Municipality of Skagway $197, 000
Nome census area $1.3 million
Northwest Arctic Borough $1.2 million
Petersburg Borough $611,000
Prince of Wales census area $1 million
Southeast Fairbanks census area $1.1 million
City and Borough of Sitka $715,000
Valdez/Cordova census area $1.3 million
Wrangell Borough $470,000
Yakutat Borough $113,000
Yukon Koyukuk census area $932,000

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