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Rep. Larsen makes earmark wish list public

Congressman Rick Larsen has released his “earmark” wish list — publicly detailing for the first time his attempts to secure extra federal funding in the area he represents.

Earmarks — called “pork” by critics — have been controversial in recent years as media scrutiny of the annual funding requests has intensified.

Larsen, D-2nd District, said this week his office has received more than 140 earmark requests from constituents and organizations for the next fiscal year.

In reviewing these requests, Larsen said he considered whether they reflect 2nd District needs and priorities, whether the project is prepared to use federal funding effectively and whether the project can be funded in an earmarked account.

Larsen chose 59 of the requested earmarks to pass on to the Appropriations Committee, and the committee will evaluate which items will get funding.

Larsen’s earmarks total more than $767 million for 2009.

“After careful consideration, the earmarks I am requesting this year reflect a range of local needs and would make a real difference for northwest Washington families and communities,” Larsen said.

Earmarked items for Whidbey Island are mostly focused on projects at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The earmarks include:

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• $3,300,000 for an academic fire instructional facility at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island;

• $4,500,000 for Electronic Warfare Associates to supplement joint electronic warfare training efforts at NAS Whidbey;

• $6,200,000 for Alliant Techsystems, Inc. to upgrade the Navy’s electronic warfare capabilities which will help the Prowler and future Growler communities at the Oak Harbor air base.

Larsen also forwarded an earmark request for $80,000 to purchase and install additional laptops and software for patrol cars used by the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

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