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USDA-Rural Development Awards $1,671,500 in Grants to Alaskan Entities

Solid Waste Management and Technical Assistance and Training projects to benefit rural communities

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, September 6, 2013 – U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund today announced that a total of $1,671,500 in USDA-RD grants was awarded to rural Alaskan entities for Solid Waste Management and Technical Assistance and Training projects across the state. 

   "Today’s announcement represents the continuation of a long-standing commitment by USDA-RD to improve public health conditions in rural Alaska. USDA-RD’s investment in technical assistance are essential to the operation and sustainability of water, wastewater, and solid waste systems in rural and remote non-hub communities," Nordlund said.

   Solid Waste Management projects are designed to provide technical assistance and training to system operators to improve local operation, maintenance, and management capacity of rural solid waste management facilities. The Technical Assistance and Training program is intended to provide technical assistance and/or training to associations on a wide range of issues relating to delivery of water and waste disposal services.

   One recipient of the funding, Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC), has been instrumental in providing HAZWOPER Materials Handling and Emergency Spill Response training.  By having the necessary trained individuals in the rural communities, backhaul of solid waste and hazardous materials can take place.  According to Jon Waterhouse, Executive Director at YRITWC, "It is essential that Tribes receive this training to safely and effectively manage their solid and hazardous waste streams and to participate in the YRITWC Backhaul Program which assists rural Alaskan Tribes in the transport (backhaul) and recycling of solid and hazardous waste such as lead batteries, E-waste, junk vehicles, Freon-containing appliances and scrap metal. This top level training and critically important work is making a major difference in Alaska and is of huge significance to the Nation."

   USDA-RD will be accepting the next round of applications for the program starting October 1, 2013.  The applications must be postmarked by December 31, 2013 for consideration of funding.  More information about the programs is available on USDA RD’s Rural Utilities website: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWEP_HomePage.html.

   President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

   USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

   USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration - the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.

   USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.

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