Murkowski Welcomes Streamlined Process for Village Safe Water

Senator’s Work for Rural Alaska Leads to Signing Ceremony Today

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today applauded the new Memorandum of Understanding signed today – by Native, Alaska State and Federal representatives – as a crucial step forward in eliminating much of the bureaucracy delaying basic infrastructure such as water and wastewater projects in rural villages.  “I am pleased that the language I made sure was in the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill to streamline the Village Safe Water Program has gotten us to a simpler, smoother process given Alaska’s unique challenges,” said Murkowski.

The Rural Alaska Village Grant program provides funds for planning, design and implementation of infrastructure projects like water and wastewater systems in rural or Native Villages.  In April 2010, the US Department of Agriculture, in response to Senator Murkowski’s directive, began a streamlining process to simplify and accelerate the process in Alaska – taking into account the tight window for construction work – while maintaining the same high degree of oversight and accountability for the work.

U.S. Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager said “My agency is committed to improving the quality of life in rural Alaska.  I have seen first-hand the significant water and wastewater needs in rural Alaskan Villages and am pleased we are streamlining our process.”

Attached is the 2009 letter from Senator Murkowski to the Honorable Dallas Tonsager, initiating the conversation.