CSSJR 25(CRA) AM: Urging the federal government to recognize the dire water and sanitation conditions in rural Alaska and to become a full partner with this state in improving this health-threatening situation.
00CS FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 25(CRA) am 01 Urging the federal government to recognize the dire water and sanitation 02 conditions in rural Alaska and to become a full partner with this state in 03 improving this health-threatening situation. 04 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 05 WHEREAS Alaskans living in over 135 rural communities throughout the state have 06 substandard and inadequate water and sewer facilities; and 07 WHEREAS this lack of basic facilities results in many of these rural Alaskans having 08 to drink untreated water from ponds, creeks, or rivers and having to use a bucket as a toilet 09 or an outhouse as a bathroom facility; and 10 WHEREAS this lack of basic facilities often results in uncontained sewage pooling 11 in close vicinity to homes, in liquid wastes leaching into the waters used for drinking, and in 12 exposing children to raw sewage in their play areas; and 13 WHEREAS this lack of basic facilities is causing a critical human health and safety 14 crisis in rural Alaska as evidenced by an alarmingly high incidence of potentially life-threatening diseases, such as
01 hepatitis A and meningitis; and 02 WHEREAS Alaska's rural population is projected to double by the year 2010, further 03 compounding this health crisis and exposing many rural residents to diseases that would be 04 preventable with basic sanitation facilities; and 05 WHEREAS rural Alaska has a history of cycles of waterborne disease epidemics 06 stemming from unsafe water and sanitation systems, and state epidemiologists report hepatitis 07 A is currently beginning another new cycle of that disease; and 08 WHEREAS the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development 09 continues to design and build homes in rural Alaska without adequate provision for safe 10 sewage disposal or in-home drinking water; and 11 WHEREAS the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Environmental 12 Conservation established the Alaska Sanitation Task Force, consisting of 27 federal, state, 13 Native, and regional organizations, to analyze these important issues and provide 14 recommendations for action; and 15 WHEREAS the implementation of the recommendations of the Alaska Sanitation Task 16 Force involves the joint commitment of the state, local and federal governments to improve 17 the living standards, public health, and quality of life of rural Alaskans; and 18 WHEREAS the governor has directed the commissioner of the Alaska Department of 19 Environmental Conservation and commissioners of other affected state departments to use their 20 best efforts to utilize available resources to address this critical health problem; and 21 WHEREAS the Alaska State Legislature recognizes the important work done by the 22 Alaska Sanitation Task Force and urges early implementation of the task force's findings and 23 recommendations by the state government in partnership with the federal government, local 24 government, Native regional nonprofit corporations, and others to address these challenges; 25 and 26 WHEREAS this state effort will not be successful without the commitment of the 27 federal government to meet its responsibilities and obligations to these rural residents, many 28 of whom are Alaska Natives; and 29 WHEREAS the federal government, through the United States Environmental 30 Protection Agency, has the capacity to assist in correcting the sanitation conditions in rural 31 Alaska as exemplified by its ongoing efforts in other areas of the country such as the
01 American Southwest Colonias where border town communities are receiving assistance in 02 establishing basic water and sewage facilities; and 03 WHEREAS a national effort similar to that currently being undertaken in the 04 American Southwest Colonias will enable accelerated transformation for residents in rural 05 Alaska from substandard sanitation conditions. 06 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the 07 President of the United States to direct the administrators of the United States Environmental 08 Protection Agency and the Indian Health Service to join in a partnership with the State of 09 Alaska to finance and implement a long-term, comprehensive effort to improve sanitation 10 conditions in rural Alaska in cooperation with Native regional nonprofit corporations and 11 Alaska's rural communities; and be it 12 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully requests the 13 President of the United States to ask the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States 14 Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Department of Health and 15 Human Services, the United States Department of the Interior, the United States Department 16 of Education, the United States Department of Labor, the United States Department of 17 Transportation, the United States Department of Energy, the United States Department of 18 Agriculture, the United States Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, 19 the Office of Management and Budget, and ACTION to commit available finances and 20 resources necessary to improve the water and sanitation conditions in rural Alaska by 21 implementing the recommendations of the Alaska Sanitation Task Force. 22 COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Bill Clinton, President of the 23 United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton, First Lady; Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture; 24 Ronald Brown, Secretary of Commerce; Richard W. Riley, Secretary of Education; Hazel R. 25 O'Leary, Secretary of Energy; Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services; 26 Henry G. Cisneros, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Bruce Babbit, Secretary 27 of the Interior; Robert B. Reich, Secretary of Labor; Frederico Pena, Secretary of 28 Transportation; Carol M. Browner, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; 29 Leon E. Panetta, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget; Patricia F. Saiki, 30 Administrator of the Small Business Administration; John Seal, Acting Director of ACTION; 31 and to the Honorable Ted Stevens and the Honorable Frank Murkowski, United States
01 Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, United States Representative, members of the Alaska 02 delegation in Congress.