August 21, 2004
"I made the commitment to Native leaders affected by this fuel shortage that I would help in any way I could to ensure no one goes cold this winter. I've also committed to manage the state's finances in a responsible way," Murkowski said. "I think this plan accomplishes both."
Under the plan, the Alaska Energy Authority has available $4.5 million from the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Program for about 50 villages that are expected to be eligible for assistance.
Villages ineligible for revolving loan funds will be eligible for a managed bridge loan program the Department of Community and Economic Development created in response to this emergency. State officials estimate this loan program may cost up to $2 million. The Denali Commission has contributed $500,000 and the state will identify the rest of the funding as it is needed.
Each village receiving a managed bridge-loan will enter into a 3-year agreement with a third party administrator to oversee both the logistics of supplying the fuel and repaying the loans. The third party administrator will also cooperate with villages to help them achieve greater independence in managing their future fuel supplies beyond the life of the loans.
The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, a non-profit utility serving 51 Rural Alaska villages, will be the third party administrator for most of the managed bridge-loan communities. Other villages could chose to partner with their borough or regional nonprofit.
This program is intended to respond to the critical needs of the Rural communities facing winter fuel shortages without exhausting the state's limited financial resources.
Murkowski thanked the Denali Commission and the Alaska Congressional Delegation for its cooperation in responding to the need for fuel by the Rural communities.
This spring the Murkowski Administration also came to the aid of 43 villages that were faced with shortages of fuel.
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