Anchorage, AK, Nov 20, 2013 -- U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced nearly $2 million in Community Program Grant Funding will be made available for some of Alaska's most remote, rural areas for a variety of projects.
"Rural Development funds will be used to purchase essential emergency equipment for many isolated off road system communities. Access to these communities is limited to boat or airplane. Due to remoteness and difficulty reaching a hospital, each community must possess the necessary first responder equipment needed to save lives. This is part of the statewide "Code Blue" effort which addresses and meets the need for essential medical equipment throughout Alaska and helps save lives," said Nordlund.
"Some of the grant funds will be used to construct new landfills further away from communities to alleviate the significant health risks due to the proximity of these existing landfills to the residents. Other Rural Development funding will go towards improving and allowing implementation of new solid waste management practices within the community to enhance environmental protection and protect public health," said Merlaine Kruse USDA-RD Alaska's Community Programs Director. "Rural Development funds provide funding for water and sewer systems to improve sanitation for existing housing and for water and sewer line extensions to foster the development of badly needed new housing in some communities," added Kruse.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "Announcements like today's are another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy and is just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible," he added.
Below is a list of awardees and the villages selected for funding:
• Native Village of Noatak – $57,000; Pre-Development and Planning Grant for a Solid Waste facility in Noatak
• City of Emmonak – $576,200 for a solid waste facility in Emmonak
• Levelock Village Council – $120,000 for development of a solid waste facility.
• Metlakatla Housing Authority – $823,388 for water and sewer line extensions on the Metlakatla Indian Reservation to allow for housing development. Metlakatla is located in Southeast Alaska, a designated "StrikeForce" area.
• Village of Sleetmute – $57,000; Pre-Development Planning Grant for a solid waste site in Sleetmute
• Maniilaq Association – $21,610; Community Facility Grant for the statewide "Code Blue" effort in the communities of Ambler, Deering and Shungnak
• Southern Region EMS Council, Inc. – $19,220 to provide essential emergency medical equipment under the statewide "Code Blue" effort in the communities of Cordova, Ninilchik and Saint Paul Island.
• Southern Region EMS Council, Inc. – $50,000; Community Facility Grant to provide an ambulance to St. Paul Island through the statewide "Code Blue" effort. St. Paul Island is part of the Pribilof Islands located in the Bering Sea, 800 miles from Anchorage and the closest hospital facilities.
• Southeast Region EMS Council, Inc. – $43,140; Economic Impact Initiative grant for the statewide "Code Blue" effort in 11 communities located throughout Southeast Alaska's USDA StrikeForce Initiative Area
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.