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USPS Agrees to Delay Postal Facility Closures for Five Months

Agreement Keeps Six Alaska Post Offices Open

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich joined Senators from around the country today to announce that, at their request, the U.S. Postal Service has voluntarily agreed to put in place a five-month moratorium on closing postal facilities, which would give Congress more time to enact postal reform legislation.  During the moratorium, scheduled to end on May 15, 2012, the Postal Service will continue to study the impact of proposed closures on service and costs and to solicit community input. 

Today’s announcement follows a meeting Sen. Begich participated in yesterday with U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Thurgood Marshall, Jr. In the meeting Sen. Begich expressed his concern about how Alaska post office closures would negatively affect Alaska’s communities and cost jobs.

On September 15, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to review its mail processing network in the hopes of reducing costs.  The Postal Service is currently considering the elimination of overnight delivery and studying the possibility of closing 3,700 mostly rural post offices and 252 mail processing facilities, including five in Alaska: Elmendorf, Fort Wainwright, Eielson, Anchorage Postal Store, and Douglas.

Sen. Begich’s advocacy has already helped 31 Alaska post offices avoid closure.

“I’ve spent months sending a strong message to the Postmaster General that Alaska post offices are the center of our rural communities and a necessary source of groceries, medicine and equipment,” said Sen. Begich. “Closing post offices can permanently damage Alaska communities and I’m glad the Postmaster General has recognized that Congress needs to be given an opportunity to do our job before closing the doors on our post offices. In the past year I’ve made several proposals for reforming the post office, including setting clear retail standards for USPS services in every community, and look forward to working with my colleagues on legislation before the end of this moratorium.  I am committed to protecting universal service to Alaska communities and ensuring the success of the USPS in the 21st century.”

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