Opinion: Alaska governor supports Native villages
"It's been a challenging winter for rural Alaska villages. High fuel prices, reduced income from fishing, and a particularly cold winter have left many residents struggling to heat their homes and feed their families. But the state has taken action and work continues.

Through Gov. Palin's leadership and the Legislature's support, the motor fuel tax was suspended. Alaskans who qualified for the 2008 Permanent Fund dividend also received a $1,200 resource rebate to help with the high cost of energy. In the Lower Yukon River villages of Emmonak, Kotlik, Alakanuk and Nunam Iqua, this meant a total of more than $6.5 million in cash flowed to residents in the region just before winter set in.

Gov. Palin also supported restoration of the municipal revenue-sharing program, which provides $60 million to communities statewide. These funds are critical for rural communities. Roughly $500,000 went to these Lower Yukon River villages and will likely be provided again. Also, more than $51 million was included in the FY 2009 budget for Power Cost Equalization and $29 million went to heating assistance programs. An additional $4.8 million went to the Bulk Fuel Loan Fund (which 32 communities have used this year) and $5.5 million for the Bridge Fuel Loan Fund (which 24 communities have used this year). A statewide energy plan was developed and the state invested $100 million into grants for renewable energy projects. Another $25 million is pending in this year's budget.

All of these efforts through the state budget process assisted rural Alaskans."

Get the Story:
John Moller: State has put its money into helping Alaskans in villages (The Anchorage Daily News 4/7)

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Opinion: A classic dilemma for Alaska Native villages (3/25)