Support for Janet McCabe as Deputy Administrator of EPA

Bristol Bay Tribes call on the Senate to confirm Janet McCabe as the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Janet McCabe’s nomination is a hopeful sign that this Administration will honor its obligation to listen to our Tribes, conduct government-to-government consultation in good faith, and work with us to protect our home and our waters from the threat of large-scale hard rock mines. The people of Bristol Bay need certainty. We believe that Janet McCabe understands our issues and we urge Sen. Murkowski and all those who share that commitment to protect Bristol Bay to confirm her nomination as Deputy Administrator swiftly. – UTBB Executive Director Alannah Hurley

Alongside regional partners, United Tribes of Bristol Bay has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Water Act to permanently protect the Bristol Bay watershed from the threat of the proposed Pebble Mine and similar projects, a request that has been supported by commercial and sport fishermen, Tribes, businesses and organizations across the country. Confirmation of the Deputy Administrator is necessary for this urgent work to proceed.

United Tribes of Bristol Bay

Dillingham, AK

Big Issues in House District 37

HB 10 Funter Bay Memorial

This week the House heard and passed House Bill 10, “Funter Bay Marine Park: Unangan Cemetery” by a vote of 31-8. This legislation protects the cemetery in Funter Bay by expanding the park boundaries by 250 acres to include the cemetery and to honors its significance in Alaska’s history.

In 2017 I was honored to join many residents from St. Paul and St. George Islands in a day-long trip to Funter Bay to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Dutch Harbor in WWII. The trip was sponsored by the Friends of Admiralty Island. In one of the darkest hours of Alaskan history approximately 850 Unangax and Aleuts were evacuated against their will from the Pribilof Islands by the United States government, and then interned for the remainder of WWII in Southeast Alaska. They were held in “barely livable” conditions with insufficient supplies and facilities, many living in crowded tents in below freezing temperatures. On the 1,300-mile journey to the camp and during their time there, almost 10% of the detainees died due to the spartan conditions they were forced to endure. Many of the detainees asked to leave and offered to help the war effort, but their requests were denied.

I was able to hear many stories and witness first-hand the great pain experienced over the years as we walked throughout the cemetery. The bill serves also to acknowledges our past and honor those who have been wronged, and I believe that by including the cemetery in the nearby park, it will be preserved as an historic landmark site and place of great sanctity for the Aleut people. House Bill 10 has been transmitted to the Senate where hopefully, it will be heard soon.

Tribal Victims of Crime Funding Opportunity

The Denali Commission and the Department of Justice is implementing a Micro-Grant Program for Tribal Victims of Crime. This offers funding for a variety of programs such as shelter services, training, campaigns, and infrastructure.

Dillingham Opposes Proposed Changes on the Regulated Use of ATVs and Snow Machines

The Governor recently proposed a change in regulations to allow ATVs and snow machines to drive on state roads with speed limits of 45 MPH. Mayor Alice Ruby of Dillingham and several other community leaders throughout the state called in to testify against the proposal in the House Transportation Committee meeting this past Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of the city of Dillingham, Mayor Ruby, noting the regulation has not yet been brought before the city council, explained that in the past residents have been very vocal about not allowing ATV’s and snowmobiles to drive on streets alongside cars and trucks. She said the topic has been considered on many occasions beforehand. The city recognizes the value of ATVs and snow machines as important modes of transportation and has done its best to accommodate users by allowing them to drive on shoulders and other areas adjacent to streets. Dillingham has longstanding regulations addressing the use of ATVs and snow machines, and the Governor’s proposal would make things more confusing while making driving conditions less safe for the general public.

Conference of Young Alaskans

Applications are open for the Conference of Young Alaskans. Fifty-five emerging leaders will convene in Fairbanks this August 1-4 for the 2021 Conference of Young Alaskans (COYA). This year’s conference is hosted by the Alaska Municipal League and will focus on municipal government issues. Participants will have an opportunity to deliberate issues and draft proposals. The final report from the conference will then be presented to the Alaska Conference of Mayors and distributed to the Governor, as well as legislators, mayors, and our congressional delegation. If you know any youth leaders in our community, I strongly encourage you to pass this opportunity their way.

Governor Sues for Removal of Forever Chemicals Contaminating our State

On April 7th, the Department of Law announced that they have filed a lawsuit against dozens of manufacturers of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. Often referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ these compounds may take hundreds, or even thousands, of years to break down in the environment and can also persist in the human body, potentially causing health problems. Over 100 contaminated sites have been identified across the state, 6 of which are in Southwest Alaska. I appreciate the State’s efforts to hold the manufacturers of these chemicals responsible for what will be a prolonged and expensive cleanup process. I’d also like to highlight that there is significant funding in the recently passed American Rescue Plan that could be used to address this contamination in our district. Please feel free to reach out to my office if you have questions about this funding and how we can ensure that we’re accessing all available resources to address the public health harms that result from these pollutants.

Scam Alert

I received a call this morning from a phone scammer attempting to steal money by posing as a law enforcement officer. The caller identified themselves as a Deputy U.S. Marshal and tried to convince me to pay a fine to resolve a phony arrest warrant (I assure you that there is no warrant out for my arrest). There has been a significant uptick in these sorts of attempted thefts across the state recently. Please DO NOT ever provide personal or financial information over the phone to anyone if you’re not 100% certain who they are. The U.S. Marshal’s service is encouraging anyone who receives these fraudulent calls to report them to local law enforcement or the Alaska State Troopers.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any issues or concerns and remember, I work for you.

Representative Bryce Edgmon

House District 37

Juneau, AK

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