Environment | National

Alaska Native community still waiting on funding for relocation

An aerial view of Kivalina in Alaska. Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Wikipedia

An Alaska Native community is still waiting on the federal government to come up with a plan to relocate the village before it falls into the sea.

A 2003 report from the Government Accountability Office said Kivalina was in "imminent" danger. A follow-up report from 2009 said "limited progress" has been made.

“We have a whole bunch of infrastructure that we need to move, that the government should be moving themselves,” Colleen Swan, a city council member, told The Washington Post. “I would like to live without having to worry about having to evacuate, or having to run.”

Lack of funding is a major obstacle to the relocation effort. But so is a lack of leadership -- there doesn't appear to be a federal agency or program with the authority to move the village or any of the other ones in Alaska that are facing similar threats.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Kivalina last week, a first for the village. She said the Obama administration is committed to addressing the impacts of climate change but did not announce anything specific regarding relocation.

Get the Story:
The remote Alaskan village that needs to be relocated due to climate change (The Washington Post 2/25)

Government Accountability Office Reports:
2003: Alaska Native Villages: Most Are Affected by Flooding and Erosion, but Few Qualify for Federal Assistance | 2009: Limited Progress Has Been Made on Relocating Villages Threatened by Flooding and Erosion

Related Stories:
Interior Secretary Jewell meets with Alaska Native leadership (2/18)

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