‘Leaving the community without sustained water security amid the worst public health pandemic in over a century is simply not an option’.
A fire destroyed Tuluksak’s water treatment plant and washeteria on January 16, leaving the Kuskokwim community without access to drinkable water for three weeks and counting.
Several members of the Alaska Bush Caucus today wrote a letter to Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, urging immediate State action – including issuing a formal disaster declaration, allocation of funding to leverage federal resources, and deployment of the Alaska National Guard – so that residents have full access to every available resource to provide relief amid the depths of winter, a global health crisis, and to provide the critical infrastructure.
“Leaving the community without sustained water security amid the worst public health pandemic in over a century is simply not an option. Immediate State action is clearly needed,” the lawmakers wrote. Reps. Tiffany Zulkosky (D-Bethel), Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham), Neal Foster (D-Nome), Josiah Patkotak (I-Utqiaġvik) and Donny Olson (D-Golovin) all signed onto the letter.
Olivia Ebertz of KYUK News first reported that the governor today (Feb. 8th, 2021) verbally issued an emergency declaration for Tuluksak, something the governor confirmed on social media this afternoon.
“We are grateful the governor appears to be responding to the outpouring from residents, community leaders, and policymakers calling for an emergency declaration over the past several weeks,” Representative Zulkosky said. “Formally declaring an emergency is an important first step. I encourage the governor to continue using every tool at his disposal to ensure every Alaskan, regardless of where they live, has much-needed access to drinking water and sustained water security.”