Senator Murkowski's E-newsletter for the week of October 17, 2011

Buckland "First Flush"

Sen. Murkowski with the sewer and water crew workers

Sen. Murkowski with Jacob Carter, owner of the first house to be hooked up

In 2006, I visited the village of Buckland and heard the concern of residents who lacked sewer and water.  I promised one of the elders, Dora Hadley, that I would work with her and the community to change this within her lifetime.  On Sept. 26th, I attended Buckland’s ceremonial first “flush” of their new sewer collection system. This ceremony marked real progress on the installation of a piped water system, a water treatment system, a washeteria, and an improved sewage lagoon for the Northwest village.

In order to have healthy families and healthy communities, Alaskans need access to clean, healthy water, and insurances that their waste is properly treated and disposed of. 

Seventeen years ago when the Alaska Delegation began its push to improve rural sanitation in Alaska, only 37% of rural households had adequate sanitation facilities. Today more than 80% of rural Alaskan homes have running water and flush toilets. We’ve made great progress, but there is still an estimated $300 million of work needed before rural water and sewer needs are close to being met.

Regulatory Time Out Legislation

As I travel around Alaska, the two things I hear most often from business owners are “get government out of the way and let us get to work.”  In the Senate, I have joined with my colleague Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) to co-sponsor the Regulatory Time Out Act of 2011.  This legislation would create more regulatory certainty for job creators.  Our businesses are wasting hours of productivity on paperwork, instead of working and creating new job opportunities.  

The Regulatory Time Out Act would impose a one year moratorium on “significant” regulations from going into effect if those rules would damage job creation and the economy – and covers regulations issued by Executive Branch agencies as well as regulatory bodies.  The moratorium would not apply to rules that address immediate threats to health and safety, or those in the criminal justice or military sectors.

Regulations that can be proven to aid in job creation or reduce other regulatory burdens would also be exempt from the time-out.

Tanana River Crossing Ground Breaking

Late last month I had the opportunity to attend the ground breaking of the Tanana River Crossing in Salcha, to create railroad access across the Tanana River and improve military access to the joint training ranges (JPARC).  I was joined by many Alaskan dignitaries, including Congressman Don Young, General Thomas Katkus, and members of the Alaska State Legislature.

The project has been in development since 2002, but had been plagued with countless environmental hurdles and delays with the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. Congressman Young and I weighed in heavily and frequently with the EPA and the Corps to argue the merits of this project and the benefits it would provide, and I was pleased to see this project finally come to fruition.  This project will not only provide improved accessibility to training grounds for our troops but also aid in flood reduction that is so frequent in this area.

Photos From My Travels Across the State

Sen. Murkowski with Joe Picler and Sharon Perin at the Special Olympics Alaska BBQ on Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day in Anchorage.

Sen. Murkowski tours the Clean Biomass Power Plant in North Pole with owner Bernie Karl.

Sen. Murkowski at Gruening Middle School in Eagle River.

Sen. Murkowski stopped by to visit Harborview Elementary Students in Juneau.

Sen. Murkowski lent a hand to Major Ryan Tillbury and his family during his promotion ceremony. Major Tillbury, a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, also works as a school counselor with the Yukon - Koyukuk School District in Fairbanks.

Sen. Murkowski with middle schoolers from Buckland.

Snapshots From D.C.

Sen. Murkowski met with the Seishiro Eto, Vice Speaker of the Japanese House of Representatives (2nd to left) to discuss the U.S./Japan relations and energy issues.

Sen. Murkowski with Cultural Ambassadors, students who participated in the Rose Rural Urban Cultural Exchange program to learn about and bring more understanding between urban and rural Alaskans.

Sen. Murkowski met with twelve-year-old advocate and children’s book author Sam Allred from Wasilla.  Sam and his family visited Washington, D.C. to discuss kidney disease/IGM nephropathy research.  Sam also showed his book “Opening Hearts,” which he wrote from his own experiences to encourage hope for kids with chronic diseases.