Murkowski Protects Village Safe Water Program in Senate

“Regions of Alaska Are Still Trying to Reach 20th Century Standards in 2012”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski reached an agreement with Senate Agriculture Committee leadership to continue authorization for Alaska’s Village Safe Water (VSW) projects in the 2012 Farm Bill – providing basic drinking water and sanitation needs to rural areas in the state.

“Yesterday we passed the 21st Century Postal Service Act, but many regions of Alaska are still trying to reach 20th Century standards in 2012 when it comes to basic water needs,” said Murkowski. “As we move forward in our budgeting priorities, we must continue to place a high priority on the health and bare necessities of our citizens.”

The Agriculture Committee eliminated state-specific programs in the 2012 Farm Bill, including the Alaska specific program that has provided approximately $20 million per year in USDA Rural Development funding for Alaska’s Village Safe Water program.

Senator Murkowski convinced her colleagues on the Agriculture Committee of Alaska’s continuing need for water and sanitation infrastructure and successfully to add the State of Alaska, tribes, and tribal health consortiums as eligible agencies for an existing national program. Senator Murkowski will continue to work with interested parties to ensure Alaska infrastructure projects receive adequate funding.

The revised Farm Bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition today.