1999 Scorecard Vote
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest protected marine ecosystem on the Pacific coast of North America. Since its establishment in 1925, it has offered opportunities for both public enjoyment and scientific study, while at the same time preserving unique glacial formations and marine life. Glacier Bay has the world's largest concentration of tidewater glaciers, and its waters support a variety of marine life including three different types of whales, as well as harbor seals, porpoises, and sea otters. Until recently, however, these values and resources were threatened by commercial fishing.
In October 1998, as part of the omnibus appropriations package, Congress and the Clinton administration reached an agreement to phase out commercial fishing in the Bay, while authorizing fishing in park waters outside of the actual Bay. This agreement resolved more than a decade of controversy over the issue.
However, during consideration of the February supplemental appropriations bill for fiscal year 1999, Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) offered an amendment to prohibit any expenditure of federal funds to implement the phase-out, pending a court decision on a state of Alaska lawsuit questioning federal jurisdiction of submerged lands. Murkowski's amendment would have had the effect of reopening the Bay to commercial fishing and was opposed by the Clinton administration, the Park Service, and environmentalists.
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) offered a motion to table (kill) the Murkowski amendment. The Senate rejected the motion 40–59. March 23, 1999. YES on the motion to table is the pro-environment vote. The Murkowski amendment was later dropped from the bill in House/Senate conference.