“Even though referred to as a ‘Sandy’ bill, we look at the vehicle as a ‘disaster’ bill,” Knudson wrote. “The Alaska fish disaster (declared in September by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce) is impacting Alaskans similarly to storm-impacted residents of NY/NJ/CT, and the longer we wait, the more desperate those Americans become.”

It’s unlikely that many Americans in the Lower 48 know about it, but the Alaskan salmon industry — a significant part of the state’s economy — has been struck by a slow-moving disaster for several years now. Sources of salmon that even in the mid-2000s yielded hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish are now yielding next to nothing. Nobody quite agrees on what is causing the problem, but as Knudson noted, in September the Commerce Department issued what is called a resource disaster designation covering parts of the Alaskan salmon industry, making it eligible for federal relief funds…

“You tell me how likely, or how quickly, Congress will act on a stand-alone fish disaster bill,” says Knudson. “And now that all of my conservative friends have called out the fish disaster appropriation as ‘pork,’ the prognosis has gotten much worse.”