Sen. Lisa Murkowski met this week with federal officials investigating FEMA’s response to this year’s flooding in Galena.
The flood left more than half of Galena’s homes uninhabitable.
Murkowski says the agency seemed unprepared for a community off the road system and failed to recognize the shortness of the Alaska building season.
One problem, she says, is that FEMA told people not to begin repairs until the extent of their loss is determined.
“Well, then you’re waiting; you’re waiting, and in the meantime you’ve got a house that may have been underwater; you now have mold going up and so you might be losing more of your house on a daily basis after the time within which the inspectors have come in and said ‘well, it’s 50 percent gone,’” Murkowski said. “There were things that were just part of a bureaucracy that just didn’t make sense.”
Murkowski says the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security plans to release a report on FEMA’s response to the Galena disaster by the end of the year.
- Bans on plastic grocery bags have been cropping up across Alaska’s remote communities. Cordova’s ban went into effect last year. But so far, the larger cities in the state have yet to adopt one.
- Things are not looking good for Haines’ Alaska State Trooper post. Trooper Director Col. James Cockrell intends to reassign Haines’ one trooper position to Bethel. The decision isn’t final yet, but the community conversation about how to handle the loss continued at a Public Safety Commission meeting this week.
- A new study from a Alaskan epidemiologist looks at infants who were exposed to opiates before birth. Unlike previous studies, it goes beyond the sharp rise in cases for a portion of the population to explore what happens next.
- Commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska have survived two years of state budget cuts but not without some changes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries has cut some positions, ended some monitoring programs, and found some new funding sources.