Denali Commission ekes back into the spotlight

Water and sewer systems in communities across Alaska are threatened by flooding and erosion due to climate change. Shown here is the village of Kivalina located on a barrier island in Northwest Alaska that's facing inundation. Joaqlin Estus KNBA
The village of Kivalina is one of several Alaska locales threatened by eroding coastlines and rising sea levels. APRN file photo: Joaqlin Estus KNBA

After being on life support for the past few funding cycles, The Denali Commission is full of muscle again with an expanded mission to help rural Alaska. The Commission, created by the late Senator Ted Stevens to fund village energy projects saw yearly funding up to $150 million at its peak. Currently the Commission’s budget is around $10 million, but a mandate by the White House to help combat the effects of climate change on remote communities may help it garner more federal dollars. Joel Niemeyer is the federal co-chair of the commission.

He told APRN’s Lori Townsend the commission will look at threats to communities from erosion, permafrost melting and flooding:

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Joel Niemeyer is federal co-chair of the Denali Commission. He spoke with APRN’s Lori Townsend.

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Lori Townsend is the news director and senior host for Alaska Public Media. You can send her program ideas for Talk of Alaska and Alaska Insight at or call 907-350-2058.