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Energy, Mines & Natural Resources Alaska Governor Thanks King Salmon Tribe for Refusing Venezuelan President's Free Fuel
Sep 30, 2006 – TheSourdough

Juneau -- Governor Frank H. Murkowski has thanked Ralph Angasan, Sr., President of the King Salmon Tribe, for his organization's decision to refuse an offer of free heating fuel this winter from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In a September 21 letter to Murkowski and members of the Alaska congressional delegation, Angasan said the tribe would not accept any donations from Chavez for fuel from Citgo, the Venezuela-owned oil company in Houston, TX.

"Although we are in need because of the high oil prices, we will work hard to buy our own fuel, or find work to buy fuel, or chop wood to heat our homes," Angasan said. "Mr. Chavez was very disrespectful to President Bush. We stand firmly with our President, especially in times when so many bad people are out to get us."

Murkowski wrote back to congratulate the King Salmon Tribe for taking a principled stand.

"While the high cost of fuel is something that is heavily impacting rural Alaskans, President Chavez's use of Alaska as a pawn in his international game to forward his dictatorship's agenda is deplorable," Murkowski said. "Your tribal members are outstanding Americans."

Chavez has announced that he, through Citgo, would buy 100 gallons of fuel for each household in 151 Alaska villages this winter, for a total of $5 million.

The State of Alaska provides direct help for low income residents through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a $9.7 million program administered through the Department of Health and Social Services. The state also funds numerous other programs to assist rural Alaskans in dealing with the high cost of energy, including the Bulk Fuel Revolving Loan Program, Power Cost Equalization ($25.7 million), Municipal Energy Assistance ($48 million for rural and urban municipalities), and others. In addition, the federal government provides another $7 million in LIHEAP funds directly to Native organizations, which administer the funds to rural Alaskans.

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