The town will have no power. Residents are being asked to leave. One man has already suffered medical problems because he could not get power to his respiratory equipment. Teachers are trying to have classes in their homes with small generators.
This is not some third world country. This is not even Texas or Louisiana, where thousands are facing the aftereffects of a hurricane.
This is a small village in Alaska.
Adak cannot pay its gas bill. They've been struggling with this problem for some time, but they were finally cut off. A combination of problems - as the Anchorage Daily News reports, were the cause, but the obvious - rising fuel prices - is one of the main culprits.
The other is the fishing industry. This tiny village of less than 150 people has been hit hard by the prices. It's a village that has been hit before with so much, historically - first the Russian invasion and "relocation", World War II invasion and forced relocation, and more recently the shut down of the military base.
A quote in the Anchorage Daily News, from an Adak medic:
"It is beyond my comprehension that such a situation like this can occur in an American city," Adams said.
Ironically, the ADN reported on a Senate hearing in August about Rural energy in the paper on the same say. Sen. Murkowski was urging Rural residents to stay in the villages, and a panel of Native leaders and energy experts talked over solutions to the energy crisis in the villages.
I applaud all those at this hearing for working towards solutions. I was not much of a fan of Murkowski, but in things like this, and others, she's on the right track. But mere weeks after she urges villagers to stay in the village for the sake of culture and the connection to the land, residents are asked to leave Adak.
But where is our governor?
I asked this last night, and today I see she's campaigning in Colorado.
Even the Republican delegates took a half day to look after the Hurricane crisis. Why can't she come take a look at this? I don't know that she would do anything - check my earlier post for her veto on another small Rural community that went over on their energy costs last year. They were looking for state funding to help in their costs. Palin line-item vetoed it. Is this what she meants by "reform?"
She only just left - this would have been a good issue to address while she was here in Alaska to take care of ... well, giving interviews about how little she knows about foreign policy I suppose. And rallies. Several rallies.
Palin recently pushed through giving every eligible Alaska resident a $1200 check as an energy rebate - which began distribution this weekend. You can imagine the popularity of that for the public (for any doubters, you need only have gone by Best Buy this weekend and counted the game systems going out the door.)
The ADN reported on lawmakers that were opposed to this plan (you can imagine the cahones it took to oppose giving out free money!) before it was passed, and just WHY they were opposed:
"They said the House plan to simply pay Alaskans a $1,200 rebate and to suspend the state's 8-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline isn't broad enough to cover needs statewide, especially in the costly Bush (Rural Alaska) where $1,200 just won't go as far."
Looks like it only took until the very weekend the checks were being distributed to be proven right.
I have been increasingly frustrated with the coverage - or lack of coverage - on this situation. I posted on this last night (Saturday.) A few hours ago the Anchorage Daily News finally reported on it. There was nothing in the local television news, much less national reports.
WHY IS THIS NOT NEWS?
An entire community of people is without power and being asked to leave their homes because they cannot afford the fuel! The State of Alaska has a MULTI BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS!
THIS IS PREVENTABLE!