Fiscal Year 2008 Draft Work Plan, 2461-2466 [E8-519]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses. Information Collection; Submission for OMB Review, Comment Request Comments Corporation for National and Community Service. ACTION: Notice. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Corporation for National and Community Service (hereinafter the ‘‘Corporation’’), has submitted a public information collection request (ICR) entitled the AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader Application to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Copies of this ICR, with applicable supporting documentation, may be obtained by calling the Corporation for National and Community Service, Mr. Nicholas Zefran (202) 606–6703. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TTY–TDD) may call (202) 565–2799 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted, identified by the title of the information collection activity, to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: Ms. Katherine Astrich, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service, by any of the following two methods within 30 days from the date of publication in this Federal Register: (1) By fax to: (202) 395–6974, Attention: Ms. Katherine Astrich, OMB Desk Officer for the Corporation for National and Community Service; and (2) Electronically by e-mail to: Katherine_T._Astrich@omb.eop.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The OMB is particularly interested in comments which: • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Corporation, including whether the information will have practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Propose ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Propose ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 A 60-day public comment Notice was published in the Federal Register on November 1, 2007. This comment period ended December 31, 2007. No public comments were received from this notice. Description: The Corporation is seeking approval of the AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader Application. The AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader Application must be completed as part of the application process for acceptance into the program. This form is used to determine eligibility of applicants to successfully serve in the Team Leader role of the program. Type of Review: Renewal. Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service. Title: AmeriCorps NCCC Team Leader Application. OMB Number: 3045–0005. Agency Number: None. Affected Public: Citizens interested in serving as team leaders. Total Respondents: 300 annually. Frequency: One-time. Average Time per Response: 1 hour. Estimated Total Burden Hours: 300 hours. Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): None. Total Burden Cost (operating/ maintenance): None. Dated: January 8, 2008. Merlene Mazyck, Director, AmeriCorps NCCC. [FR Doc. E8–532 Filed 1–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6050–$$–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Intent To Grant Partially Exclusive Patent License; Soil Information Systems, Inc. Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Department of the Navy herby gives notice of its intent to grant to Soil Information Systems, Inc., a revocable, nonassignable, partially exclusive license in the United States to practice the Government-Owned invention(s) described in U.S. Patent Number 5,316,950 entitled ‘‘Method for quantitative calibration of in situ optical chemical measurements in soils using soil class and characteristics’’, issue date May 31, 1994. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2461 Anyone wishing to object to the grant of this license must file written objections along with supporting evidence, if any, not later than January 30, 2008. ADDRESSES: Written objections are to be filed with the Office of Research and Technology Applications, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Code 73120, 53560 Hull St., San Diego, CA 92152–5048. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen H. Lieberman, Ph.D., Head, Office of Research and Technology Applications, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Code 73120, 53560 Hull St., San Diego, CA 92152–5048, telephone 619–553–2778, E-Mail: stephen.lieberman@navy.mil. DATES: (Authority: 35 U.S.C. 207, 37 CFR Part 404) Dated: January 9, 2008. T.M. Cruz, Lieutenant, Office of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E8–517 Filed 1–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DENALI COMMISSION Fiscal Year 2008 Draft Work Plan Denali Commission. Denali Commission Fiscal Year 2008 Draft Work Plan request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Denali Commission (Commission) is an independent federal agency based on an innovative federalstate partnership designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure and support for economic development and in-training in Alaska by delivering federal services in the most costeffective manner possible. The Commission was created in 1998 with passage of the October 21, 1998 Denali Commission Act (Act) (Title III of Pub. L. 105–277, 42 U.S.C. 3121). The Denali Commission Act requires that the Commission develop proposed work plans for future spending and that the annual Work Plan be published in the Federal Register, providing an opportunity for a 30-day period of public review and written comment. This Federal Register notice serves to announce the 30-day opportunity for public comment on the Denali Commission Draft Work Plan for Federal Fiscal Year 2008. DATES: Comments and related material must be received by February 14, 2008. ADDRESSES: Submit comments to the Denali Commission, Attention: E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2462 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices Automme Circosta, 510 L Street, Suite 410, Anchorage, AK 99501. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Automme Circosta, Denali Commission, 510 L Street, Suite 410, Anchorage, AK 99501. Telephone: (907) 271–1414. Email: acircosta@denali.gov. Background: The Commission’s mission is to partner with tribal, federal, state, and local governments and collaborate with all Alaskans to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government services, to develop a welltrained labor force employed in a diversified and sustainable economy, and to build and ensure the operation and maintenance of Alaska’s basic infrastructure. By creating the Commission, Congress mandated that all parties involved partner together to find new and innovative solutions to the unique infrastructure and economic development challenges in America’s most remote communities. Pursuant to the Denali Commission Act, as amended, the Commission determines its own basic operating principles and funding criteria on an annual federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) basis. The Commission outlines these priorities and funding recommendations in an annual Work Plan. Pursuant to the Act, the Work Plan is first provided in draft by the Commission for publication in the Federal Register providing an opportunity for a 30-day period of public review and written comment. The Work Plan is also disseminated widely to Commission program partners including, but not limited to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture—Rural Development (USDA–RD). Commission staff are responsible for compiling written public comment and forwarding it to the Commission’s Federal Co-Chair (Mr. George J. Cannelos). The Federal Co-Chair then adopts a final version of the Work Plan, which includes, to the degree the Federal Co- Chair deems appropriate, modifications, additions and deletions based on the policy and program recommendations of the full Commission and public comment. The final version of the Work Plan is forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce for approval on behalf of the Federal Co-Chair. The Work Plan authorizes the Federal Co-Chair to enter into grant agreements, award grants and contracts and obligate the federal funds identified by appropriation below. FY 08 Appropriations Summary The FY 08 Draft Work Plan has been developed based on the appropriations approved by Congress for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08), as detailed in the FY08 Denali Commission Funding Summary Table below. Some appropriations have been identified as ‘‘Estimates.’’ These figures will be updated in the final Work Plan upon receipt of FY08 appropriations by the Commission. The Denali Commission has historically received several federal funding sources (identified by the varying colors in the table below). These fund sources, commonly referred to as ‘‘appropriations,’’ are governed by the following general principles: • In FY 08 no project specific earmarks were provided in any appropriations; • Energy and Water Appropriations (commonly referred to as Commission ‘‘Base’’ funding) is eligible for use in all programs, but has historically been used substantively to fund the Energy Program. • The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established new authorities for the Commission’s Energy Program, with an emphasis on renewable and alternative energy projects. No new funding accompanied the Energy Policy Act, and prior fiscal year Congressional direction has indicated that the Commission should fund renewable and alternative Energy Program activities from the available ‘‘Base’’ appropriation. • All other appropriations outlined below may be used only for the specific program area and may not be used across programs. For instance, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding, which is appropriated for the Health Facilities Program, may not be moved to the Economic Development Program. The figures appearing in the table below include an administrative deduction of 5%, which constitutes the Commission’s 5% overhead. In instances where the overhead differs from the 5% it is due to the requirements related to that appropriation. For example, USDARural Utilities Services (RUS) funding is limited to 4% overhead. Final transportation appropriations received are typically slightly reduced due to agency modifications, reductions and fees determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The table below provides the following information, by appropriation: • Total FY 08 Appropriations: These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled ‘‘FY 08 Appropriation’’ and are the original appropriation amounts which do not include Commission overhead deductions. These appropriations are identified by their source name (i.e., ‘‘Energy and Water Appropriation; USDA, Rural Utilities Service, etc.) • Total FY 08 Program Available Funding: These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled ‘‘FY 08 Appropriations—Program Available’’ and are the amounts of funding available for program(s) activities after Commission overhead has been deducted. • Program Funding: These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled with the specific Program and Sub-Program area, and are the amounts of funding the Draft FY 08 Work Plan recommends, within each appropriation. • Subtotal of Program Funding These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled ‘‘subtotal’’ and are the subtotals of all program funding within a given appropriation. The subtotal must always equal the Total FY 08 Program Available Funding. DENALI COMMISSION FY 08 APPROPRIATIONS FUNDING TABLE rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES FY 08 Energy & Water Appropriation .............................................................................................................................................. FY 08 Energy & Water Appropriations (‘‘Base’’)—Program Available (less 5% Commission overhead) ...................................... Energy Program: bulk fuel, RPSU, etc. ................................................................................................................................... Energy Program: alternative & renewable energy ................................................................................................................... Teacher Housing Program: design & construction .................................................................................................................. Economic Development Program: various ............................................................................................................................... $21,800,000 20,511,620 10,000,000 9,000,000 (up to) 1,000,000 511,620 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 20,511,620 FY 08 USDA, Rural Utilities Service (RUS) .................................................................................................................................... 15,000,000 VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices 2463 DENALI COMMISSION FY 08 APPROPRIATIONS FUNDING TABLE—Continued FY 08 USDA—Rural Utilities Service (RUS)—Program Available (less 4% overhead) ................................................................. Energy Program: high energy cost communities ..................................................................................................................... 14,400,000 14,400,000 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 14,400,000 FY 08 Trans Alaska Pipeline Liability (TAPL) Trust ........................................................................................................................ FY 08 Trans Alaska Pipeline Liability (TAPL)—Program Available (less 5% overhead) ESTIMATE ............................................ Energy Program: bulk fuel ........................................................................................................................................................ 4,201,398 3,991,328 3,991,328 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 3,991,328 FY 08 DHHS—Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) ........................................................................................... FY 08 DHHS—Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)—Program Available (less 5% Commission overhead) .... Health Program: Primary Care Clinic Design, Planning, and Construction ............................................................................. Health Program: Behavioral Health .......................................................................................................................................... Health Program: Primary Care in Hospitals ............................................................................................................................. Health Program: Domestic Violence Facilities ......................................................................................................................... Health Program: Hospital Designs ........................................................................................................................................... 39,283,200 37,319,040 23,319,040 5,000,000 4,000,000 1,000,000 4,000,000 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 37,319,040 FY 08 Department of Labor (DOL) .................................................................................................................................................. FY 08 Department of Labor (DOL)—Program Available (less 5% Commission overhead) ........................................................... Training Program: Various ....................................................................................................................................................... 6,875,000 6,531,250 6,531,250 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 6,531,250 FY 08 Federal Transportation Administration (FTA)—Estimate ..................................................................................................... FY 08 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)—Estimate ........................................................................................................... FY 08 Transportation (less 5% Commission overhead)—Estimate ................................................................................................ Transportation Program: Docks & Harbors .............................................................................................................................. Transportation Program: Roads ............................................................................................................................................... 5,000,000 19,000,000 22,800,000 9,000,000 13,800,000 Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 22,800,000 FY 08 USDA, Solid Waste .............................................................................................................................................................. FY 08 USDA—Solid Waste—Program Available (less 5% Commission overhead) ...................................................................... Solid Waste Program: planning, design and construction ....................................................................................................... Sub-total $ ......................................................................................................................................................................... 437,000 415,150 415,150 415,150 TOTAL FY 08 Appropriations—Estimate ................................................................................................................... $111,596,598 TOTAL FY 08 Program Available—Estimate ............................................................................................................ $105,968,388 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES FY 08 Program Details & General Information The following section provides narrative discussion, by each of the Commission Programs identified for FY 08 funding in the table above, in the following categories: • Program History and Approach • Applicant/Grant Process • Program Project Selection Process • Program Policy Issues (as applicable) In addition to the FY 08 funded program activities; the last section of the narrative provides an update on the Commission’s Government Coordination Program. The Program is not funded by Commission appropriations, but is an integral component of the Commission’s mission, the success of other programs, and the legacy of the Commission’s work in Alaska. The final section also includes a general summary of the Commission’s potential role in erosion and relocation VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 in Alaska, as well as a summary of the Commission’s goals regarding agencywide program evaluation in FY 08. Energy Program The Energy Program is the Commission’s oldest program and is often identified, along with the Health Program, as a ‘‘legacy’’ program. The Program focuses on bulk fuel (BFU) and rural power system upgrades/power generation (RPSU) across Alaska. The purpose of this program is to provide code-compliant bulk fuel storage and electrification throughout rural Alaska, especially for communities ‘‘off the grid’’ and not reachable by road or rail. The needs in the bulk fuel and power generation projects are presently estimated at $198 million and $211 million, respectively, in 2004 construction costs. At FY 06 funding rates, it will take another eight to nine years for BFU and ten to eleven years for RPSU before these programs are completed. The Commission has also PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 funded a very successful program of competitively selected energy cost reduction-alternative energy projects. In three completed rounds of funding, approximately $6 million in grant funds have leveraged $8.1 million in participant funding, with estimated lifecycle cost savings (generally diesel fuel avoided over the life of the project) of $29 million. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established new authorities for the Commission’s Energy Program, with an emphasis on alternative and renewable energy projects, energy transmission, including interties, and fuel transportation systems. Although the 2005 Energy Policy Act did not include specific appropriations, the Commission is expected to carry out the intent of the Act through a portion of its ‘‘Base’’ funding. To date, the Commission has co-funded a number of renewable projects, including hydroelectric facilities, a geothermal power plant, a biomass boiler, and a number of diesel- E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 2464 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices wind power generation systems. In FY 07 the Commission issued a request for proposals for alternative and renewable energy projects. The FY 08 Work Plan outlines a strategy to rebalance the Energy Program in both legacy and renewable systems, providing up to $9,000,000 for alternative and renewable projects. About 94% of electricity in rural communities which receive Power Cost Equalization (PCE) payments is produced by diesel and about half the fuel storage in most villages is used for the power plants. Any alternative means of generating power can reduce the capacity needed for fuel storage. This reduces capital costs and operations and maintenance (O&M) and repair and renovation (R&R) costs for fuel storage facilities and may reduce the cost of power to the community. The Energy Program has historically used a ‘‘universe of need’’ model to determine project and program funding. Specifically, the Program is focused on using the existing statewide deficiency lists of bulk fuel facilities and power generation/distribution systems to prioritize project funding decisions. A program partnership model is utilized for project management and partners are actively involved in the design and construction of projects. Partners coordinate project funding requests with the Commission to balance the relative priority or urgency of bulk fuel and power generation needs against available funding, readiness of individual communities and project participants for the project(s), and capacity of the partners to carry out the work. Communities are identified by partners and through the deficiency list process. Legacy program (RPSU, bulk fuel and intertie) Projects are selected and reviewed by Commission staff and program partners. Thus, a renewable project sometimes is proposed in conjunction with a deficiency list project to reduce the dependence on diesel fuel, and the concomitant fuel storage requirements. So too, an intertie, can remove the need for a new power plant, and reduce fuel storage requirements in the intertied communities. Therefore, the legacy Program may include these types of energy infrastructure also. Each community and project must be evaluated holistically. Program partners also perform initial due diligence and Investment Policy screenings, as well as assisting in development of the business plans for the participants as the designs are underway. The Program is dynamic: priorities fluctuate throughout the year, based on design decisions, due VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 diligence and investment policy considerations, site availability, the timing of funding decisions, etc. It is anticipated that alternative/ renewable projects will be selected via a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, similar to the RFP utilized in FY 07. Commission staff and an independent body will review and select projects submitted via RFP. The Energy Advisory Committee, provides policy guidance to the Program. The Energy Advisory Committee does not select or prioritize individual projects. 100% design, documentation of cost share match, and realistic ability to move the project forward in a given construction season. The Health Facilities Program anticipates two major policy changes in FY 08, 1) the development of size guidelines for large clinics, as well as potential changes to the existing size guidelines for medium and large clinics, and 2) issuance of an RFP for the design of a multipurpose clinic/facility for communities with less than 100 year round residents. Health Facilities Program The Denali Commission Act was amended in 1999 to provide for the, ‘‘planning, constructing and equipping of health facilities.’’ Since 1999, the Health Facilities Program has been methodically investing in the planning, design and construction of primary care clinics across Alaska. Primary care clinics have remained the ‘‘legacy’’ priority for the Program. However, in 2003 the ‘‘Other Than’’ primary care component of the Program was adopted in response to Congressional direction to fund a mix of other health and social service related facility needs. Over time, the Program has developed Program sub-areas such as Behavioral Health Facilities, Domestic Violence Facilities, Elder Housing, Primary Care in Hospitals, Emergency Medical Services Equipment and Hospital Designs. The Program utilizes a ‘‘universe of need’’ model for primary care and a competitive selection process for other sub-program areas. In 1999 the Program created a deficiency list for primary care clinics, which totaled 288 communities statewide in need of clinic replacement, expansion and/or renovation. Currently, 70 clinics have been completed (either new construction or renovation), 33 are in construction and 62 are in planning/ design. The Program is guided by the Health Steering Committee, an advisory body comprised of the following membership organizations: the State of Alaska, Alaska Primary Care Association, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, the Alaska Native Health Board, the Indian Health Service, the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, and the University of Alaska. Projects are recommended for funding by Commission staff if they demonstrate project readiness, which includes the completion of all due diligence requirements. This includes an approved business plan, community plan, site plan checklist, completed Training Program PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 In a majority of rural communities unemployment rates exceed 50% and per capita income rates are over 50% below the national average. When job opportunities in rural Alaska do become available, rural residents often lack the skills necessary to compete and often lose those jobs to people from outside the community, region or even state. With the limited number of jobs available, the Commission believes it is imperative to ensure that local residents have the skills and knowledge necessary to work on the construction of projects funded by the Denali Commission. In addition the Commission builds sustainability into the development of infrastructure by providing training for the long term management, operations and maintenance of facilities and thus increasing local employment at the same time. The Program’s mission is to increase the employment and wages of unemployed or underemployed Alaskans through training for careers in construction, operations and maintenance of public facilities. The Program is also guided by the following principles: • Priority on training for construction, operations and maintenance of public infrastructure. • Training will be tied to a job. • Training will encourage careers not short term employment. • Funding will support a ‘‘Training System’’. To date the Commission has dedicated training funds to the careers associated with infrastructure development and long-term sustainability in rural Alaska. The Commission has funded construction, operations and maintenance training in communities statewide with large success. The Training Program’s primary purpose is to support the Commission’s investment in infrastructure development by providing training for the careers related to the Commission E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES infrastructure programs (such as Energy and Health Facilities). The Commission anticipates that the general priority areas of construction, operations and maintenance of Commission Projects; management training for Commission Projects; youth initiatives in support of Commission projects; and construction, operations and maintenance training of ‘‘other public infrastructure’’ will continue to be funded in FY 08. Projects are selected through various RFP processes with partners, and at the recommendation of Commission staff, and policy guidance and priority areas for funding are set by the Training Advisory Committee. Historically the Commission has provided funding directly to organizations that are able to deliver results in the priority areas as described above. These organizations have typically been selected by the Commission directly or through competitive requests for proposals managed by partner organizations. Transportation On August 10, 2005, the President signed into law new highway program reauthorization legislation titled Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU). This Act provides the Commission with $15 million annually for fiscal years 2005– 2009 for a Denali Access System program. The Act also provides the Commission $10 million annually for Fiscal Years 2005–2009 for docks, harbors and related waterfront development projects. The Act also outlined the array of road projects Denali Access System is designed to target, rural community streets and roads, roads between rural communities, state highway system; and roads to access resource development. The Act requires the formation of the Denali Access System Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) to advise the Commission with members appointed by the Governor of Alaska. The nine member committee includes by law, four members who represent existing regional Native corporations, native non-profit entities, tribal governments and four members who represent rural Alaska regions or villages. The committee chair is Denali Commission Federal Co-Chair, George J. Cannelos. The TAC is a central feature of the amendments to the Denali Commission Act of 1998 that defines the Denali Access System. Section 309 defines key committee responsibilities that include: recommend transportation priorities and funding strategies; develop public involvement and coordinating planning VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 programs; develop annual capital budget recommendations; and coordinate multi-region projects. As a result of a TAC-directed public outreach and agency coordination effort, the program has now begun to focus attention on two important transportation needs: roads and boardwalks, and barge landing moorage systems. Village connector roads and roads to local and regional resources will continue to receive significant attention, but to the extent practical each year, local roads and boardwalks in small rural communities will receive primary attention. The program will also maintain its focus on dust control in villages. In the waterfront development program, docks and harbors in small coastal communities will continue to receive attention, but there is a significant need for barge landings in coastal and riverine communities to improve operational safety and efficiencies. This class of project will receive primary consideration each year to the extent funding and construction schedules allow. Another evolution in Program development, especially in the road Program, has been a shift from maximizing financial leveraging opportunities with other transportation agencies, to fully fund, as necessary, the program’s highest priority projects. In FY 06, the $23 million transportation program leveraged almost $100 million in projects. In coming years, while striving to leverage funding opportunities, an emphasis on priorities over funding partnerships will likely reduce the overall program joint-fund total. This has been critical because of the nature of the projects the Commission is able to fund. These projects are typically very important, but may not rise to prioritization for funding on State or other Federal transportation systems. The TAC reviews project nominations on a semi-annual basis, once in December for project selections and once during the summer to monitor project development. In addition to meeting transportationspecific criteria and processes, the Program fully incorporates Denali Commission policies including a commitment to sustainable community projects, and a commitment to the Commission’s Investment Policy. Solid Waste The Commission began receiving solid waste funding in FY 06. The Commission partners with USDA Rural Development to address deficiencies in solid waste disposal sites which PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2465 threaten to contaminate rural drinking water supplies. Proper solid waste collection, processing and disposal are an essential public service that often presents a difficult challenge in rural Alaska. Due to several factors, including limited rural Alaska local government budgets, community remoteness, limited transportation infrastructure and obstacles posed by Alaska’s severe climate, solid waste service is a prominent widespread deficiency in the context of Alaska’s wide array of environmental issues and public health and quality of life issues. The program relies on a competitive RFP process to select and identify projects, and utilizes a multidiscipline review panel to ensure that projects meet all Commission due diligence and policy requirements. Program partners administer individual grant awards on behalf of the Commission. Typically this RFP process occurs once or twice in a given year depending on need and project eligibility. Teacher Housing Teaching in rural Alaska can be one of the most rewarding and challenging professions. A critical issue for rural teachers is finding safe, affordable housing during the school year. Housing availability varies by community from newer adequate homes, to old housing units with multiple safety and structural problems, to a lack of enough available housing, requiring teachers to double-up or even live in the school. Teacher turnover rates are high in rural Alaska, with many teachers citing unavailable or inadequate housing as a factor in their decision to move. The quality of education received by students is impacted by teacher retention. By improving the availability and quality of housing for teachers, the Commission strives to also increase the quality of education received by the next generation of Alaskans. In FY 04, Congress directed the Commission to address the teacher housing needs in rural Alaska. The Commission launched a statewide survey of 51 school districts and rural education attendance areas to identify and prioritize the teacher housing needs throughout the state. Urban districts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Juneau were not included in the survey. The Commission utilizes a program partnership model to implement the teacher housing program. An annual RFP process identifies eligible projects and other funding sources, such as debt service, available to fill the gap between the project’s capacity to carry debt and the total development cost of the E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1 2466 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 15, 2008 / Notices project. Acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction, and multi-site rehabilitation are eligible development activities under this program. Economic Development Since its earliest days as a territory of the United States, Alaska has contributed to the economy of America, largely through supply of raw materials or partially processed products. Now Alaska’s abundant natural resources, from fossil fuel and mineral products to timber and fish, must compete in the global marketplace. Innovation and entrepreneurship have become critical to business success. One of the purposes of the Commission is economic development. The Commission firmly believes that sustainable economic development for Alaska’s rural communities, like that of the rest of America, will be generated in the private, commercial sector, not within government. To that end, the Commission supports the development of public infrastructure upon which the private sector creates jobs and wealth, and helps ensure that good businesses and business ideas have a chance to become long-term, self-sustaining enterprises. Over the history of the Program, the Commission has supported and advanced a wide array of economic development program activities ranging from community profile mapping to supporting innovative models for lending, and equity investment in Alaska. The Program is guided by Commission staff and the Economic Development Advisory Committee, which provides general policy guidance and funding recommendations in broad categories. It is anticipated that FY 08 funds will be made available via an RFP process. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Government Coordination The Commission is charged with the special role of increasing the effectiveness of government programs by acting as a catalyst to coordinate the many Federal and State programs that serve Alaska. In FY 08 the Commission will continue its role of coordinating State and Federal agencies and other partner organizations to accomplish its overall mission of developing Alaska’s communities. Other Emerging Issues The Commission anticipates an active role in the emerging issues and challenges related to erosion and relocation in Alaska in the future. The Commission is committed to partnering with other Federal, State and tribal VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:48 Jan 14, 2008 Jkt 214001 entities to ensure that public policy solutions are developed in the most expedient, responsive and culturallyappropriate manner. While no funds are appropriated for the Commission for this purpose in FY 08, Commission staff are working diligently to ensure that communities that may experience erosion or relocation issues are being vetted and reviewed appropriately prior to infrastructure development occurring. The Commission is committed to innovative, cost-effective and creative design and construction solutions. To that end, the Commission anticipates engaging in more diverse and experimental partnerships in FY 08, and will be seeking innovative design, construction and program and project management practices. In FY 08 the Commission will be creating an ongoing, agency wide evaluation system to measure the outcomes of Commission programs. It is anticipated that this work will begin in late spring or early summer, and would be designed to provide by empirical and qualitative data regarding Commission programs, projects and overall goal accomplishments in a broad set of evaluation criteria. It is the Commission’s intent to maintain highlevel measures that are correlated to the Commission’s goals related to improving access, reducing cost and improving the quality of services and facilities across Alaska. Program Advisory Committees, staff and Commissioners will play a critical role in shaping this evaluation methodology. Dated: January 9, 2008. George J. Cannelos, Federal Co-Chair. [FR Doc. E8–519 Filed 1–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3300–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Department of Education. Correction Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: On December 21, 2007, the Department of Education published a comment period notice in the Federal Register (Page 72682, Column 3) for the information collection, ‘‘Understanding Science Professional Development and the Science Achievement of English Learners.’’ The burden hours are hereby corrected to 680. The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management, hereby issues a correction notice as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: January 9, 2008. Angela C. Arrington, IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management. [FR Doc. E8–548 Filed 1–14–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Energy Information Administration Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Energy Information Administration (EIA), Department of Energy (DOE). ACTION: Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The EIA has submitted the ‘‘Natural Gas Processing Plant Survey,’’ Form EIA–757 to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and a three-year approval under section 3507(h)(1) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., at 3507(h)(1)). DATES: Comments must be filed by February 14, 2008. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments but find it difficult to do so within that period, you should contact the OMB Desk Officer for DOE listed below as soon as possible. ADDRESSES: Send comments to OMB Desk Officer for DOE, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. To ensure receipt of the comments by the due date, submission by FAX at 202– 395–7285 or e-mail to Nathan_J._Frey@omb.eop.gov is recommended. The mailing address is 726 Jackson Place, NW., Washington, DC 20503. The OMB DOE Desk Officer may be telephoned at (202) 395–7345. (A copy of your comments should also be provided to EIA’s Statistics and Methods Group at the address below.) FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Grace Sutherland. To ensure receipt of the comments by the due date, submission by FAX (202– 586–5271) or e-mail (grace.sutherland@eia.doe.gov) is also recommended. The mailing address is Statistics and Methods Group (EI–70), Forrestal Building, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585–0670. Ms. Sutherland may be contacted by telephone at (202) 586–6264. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This section contains the following E:\FR\FM\15JAN1.SGM 15JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 10 (Tuesday, January 15, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2461-2466]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-519]


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DENALI COMMISSION


Fiscal Year 2008 Draft Work Plan

AGENCY: Denali Commission.

ACTION: Denali Commission Fiscal Year 2008 Draft Work Plan request for 
comments.

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SUMMARY: The Denali Commission (Commission) is an independent federal 
agency based on an innovative federal-state partnership designed to 
provide critical utilities, infrastructure and support for economic 
development and in-training in Alaska by delivering federal services in 
the most cost-effective manner possible. The Commission was created in 
1998 with passage of the October 21, 1998 Denali Commission Act (Act) 
(Title III of Pub. L. 105-277, 42 U.S.C. 3121). The Denali Commission 
Act requires that the Commission develop proposed work plans for future 
spending and that the annual Work Plan be published in the Federal 
Register, providing an opportunity for a 30-day period of public review 
and written comment.
    This Federal Register notice serves to announce the 30-day 
opportunity for public comment on the Denali Commission Draft Work Plan 
for Federal Fiscal Year 2008.

DATES: Comments and related material must be received by February 14, 
2008.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments to the Denali Commission, Attention:

[[Page 2462]]

Automme Circosta, 510 L Street, Suite 410, Anchorage, AK 99501.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Automme Circosta, Denali 
Commission, 510 L Street, Suite 410, Anchorage, AK 99501. Telephone: 
(907) 271-1414. E-mail: acircosta@denali.gov.
    Background: The Commission's mission is to partner with tribal, 
federal, state, and local governments and collaborate with all Alaskans 
to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government services, to 
develop a well-trained labor force employed in a diversified and 
sustainable economy, and to build and ensure the operation and 
maintenance of Alaska's basic infrastructure.
    By creating the Commission, Congress mandated that all parties 
involved partner together to find new and innovative solutions to the 
unique infrastructure and economic development challenges in America's 
most remote communities.
    Pursuant to the Denali Commission Act, as amended, the Commission 
determines its own basic operating principles and funding criteria on 
an annual federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) basis. The 
Commission outlines these priorities and funding recommendations in an 
annual Work Plan.
    Pursuant to the Act, the Work Plan is first provided in draft by 
the Commission for publication in the Federal Register providing an 
opportunity for a 30-day period of public review and written comment. 
The Work Plan is also disseminated widely to Commission program 
partners including, but not limited to the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
(BIA), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and the United 
States Department of Agriculture--Rural Development (USDA-RD). 
Commission staff are responsible for compiling written public comment 
and forwarding it to the Commission's Federal Co-Chair (Mr. George J. 
Cannelos).
    The Federal Co-Chair then adopts a final version of the Work Plan, 
which includes, to the degree the Federal Co-Chair deems appropriate, 
modifications, additions and deletions based on the policy and program 
recommendations of the full Commission and public comment. The final 
version of the Work Plan is forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce for 
approval on behalf of the Federal Co-Chair.
    The Work Plan authorizes the Federal Co-Chair to enter into grant 
agreements, award grants and contracts and obligate the federal funds 
identified by appropriation below.

FY 08 Appropriations Summary

    The FY 08 Draft Work Plan has been developed based on the 
appropriations approved by Congress for Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08), as 
detailed in the FY08 Denali Commission Funding Summary Table below. 
Some appropriations have been identified as ``Estimates.'' These 
figures will be updated in the final Work Plan upon receipt of FY08 
appropriations by the Commission.
    The Denali Commission has historically received several federal 
funding sources (identified by the varying colors in the table below). 
These fund sources, commonly referred to as ``appropriations,'' are 
governed by the following general principles:
     In FY 08 no project specific earmarks were provided in any 
appropriations;
     Energy and Water Appropriations (commonly referred to as 
Commission ``Base'' funding) is eligible for use in all programs, but 
has historically been used substantively to fund the Energy Program.
     The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established new authorities 
for the Commission's Energy Program, with an emphasis on renewable and 
alternative energy projects. No new funding accompanied the Energy 
Policy Act, and prior fiscal year Congressional direction has indicated 
that the Commission should fund renewable and alternative Energy 
Program activities from the available ``Base'' appropriation.
     All other appropriations outlined below may be used only 
for the specific program area and may not be used across programs. For 
instance, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funding, 
which is appropriated for the Health Facilities Program, may not be 
moved to the Economic Development Program.
    The figures appearing in the table below include an administrative 
deduction of 5%, which constitutes the Commission's 5% overhead. In 
instances where the overhead differs from the 5% it is due to the 
requirements related to that appropriation. For example, USDA-Rural 
Utilities Services (RUS) funding is limited to 4% overhead.
    Final transportation appropriations received are typically slightly 
reduced due to agency modifications, reductions and fees determined by 
the U.S. Department of Transportation.
    The table below provides the following information, by 
appropriation:
     Total FY 08 Appropriations:
     These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled ``FY 08 
Appropriation'' and are the original appropriation amounts which do not 
include Commission overhead deductions. These appropriations are 
identified by their source name (i.e., ``Energy and Water 
Appropriation; USDA, Rural Utilities Service, etc.)
     Total FY 08 Program Available Funding:
     These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled ``FY 08 
Appropriations--Program Available'' and are the amounts of funding 
available for program(s) activities after Commission overhead has been 
deducted.
     Program Funding:
     These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled with the 
specific Program and Sub-Program area, and are the amounts of funding 
the Draft FY 08 Work Plan recommends, within each appropriation.
     Subtotal of Program Funding
     These are the figures that appear in the rows entitled 
``subtotal'' and are the subtotals of all program funding within a 
given appropriation. The subtotal must always equal the Total FY 08 
Program Available Funding.

          Denali Commission FY 08 Appropriations Funding Table
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 Energy & Water Appropriation....................       $21,800,000
FY 08 Energy & Water Appropriations (``Base'')--              20,511,620
 Program Available (less 5% Commission overhead)......
    Energy Program: bulk fuel, RPSU, etc..............        10,000,000
    Energy Program: alternative & renewable energy....         9,000,000
                                                                 (up to)
    Teacher Housing Program: design & construction....         1,000,000
    Economic Development Program: various.............           511,620
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................        20,511,620
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 USDA, Rural Utilities Service (RUS).............        15,000,000

[[Page 2463]]

 
FY 08 USDA--Rural Utilities Service (RUS)--Program            14,400,000
 Available (less 4% overhead).........................
    Energy Program: high energy cost communities......        14,400,000
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................        14,400,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 Trans Alaska Pipeline Liability (TAPL) Trust....         4,201,398
FY 08 Trans Alaska Pipeline Liability (TAPL)--Program          3,991,328
 Available (less 5% overhead) ESTIMATE................
    Energy Program: bulk fuel.........................         3,991,328
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................         3,991,328
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 DHHS--Health Resources & Services Administration        39,283,200
 (HRSA)...............................................
FY 08 DHHS--Health Resources & Services Administration        37,319,040
 (HRSA)--Program Available (less 5% Commission
 overhead)............................................
    Health Program: Primary Care Clinic Design,               23,319,040
     Planning, and Construction.......................
    Health Program: Behavioral Health.................         5,000,000
    Health Program: Primary Care in Hospitals.........         4,000,000
    Health Program: Domestic Violence Facilities......         1,000,000
    Health Program: Hospital Designs..................         4,000,000
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................        37,319,040
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 Department of Labor (DOL).......................         6,875,000
FY 08 Department of Labor (DOL)--Program Available             6,531,250
 (less 5% Commission overhead)........................
    Training Program: Various.........................         6,531,250
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................         6,531,250
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 Federal Transportation Administration (FTA)--            5,000,000
 Estimate.............................................
FY 08 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)--Estimate.        19,000,000
FY 08 Transportation (less 5% Commission overhead)--          22,800,000
 Estimate.............................................
    Transportation Program: Docks & Harbors...........         9,000,000
    Transportation Program: Roads.....................        13,800,000
                                                       -----------------
        Sub-total $...................................        22,800,000
------------------------------------------------------------------------
FY 08 USDA, Solid Waste...............................           437,000
FY 08 USDA--Solid Waste--Program Available (less 5%              415,150
 Commission overhead).................................
    Solid Waste Program: planning, design and                    415,150
     construction.....................................
        Sub-total $...................................           415,150
                                                       -----------------
            TOTAL FY 08 Appropriations--Estimate......      $111,596,598
                                                       -----------------
            TOTAL FY 08 Program Available--Estimate...      $105,968,388
------------------------------------------------------------------------

FY 08 Program Details & General Information

    The following section provides narrative discussion, by each of the 
Commission Programs identified for FY 08 funding in the table above, in 
the following categories:
     Program History and Approach
     Applicant/Grant Process
     Program Project Selection Process
     Program Policy Issues (as applicable)
    In addition to the FY 08 funded program activities; the last 
section of the narrative provides an update on the Commission's 
Government Coordination Program. The Program is not funded by 
Commission appropriations, but is an integral component of the 
Commission's mission, the success of other programs, and the legacy of 
the Commission's work in Alaska.
    The final section also includes a general summary of the 
Commission's potential role in erosion and relocation in Alaska, as 
well as a summary of the Commission's goals regarding agency-wide 
program evaluation in FY 08.

Energy Program

    The Energy Program is the Commission's oldest program and is often 
identified, along with the Health Program, as a ``legacy'' program. The 
Program focuses on bulk fuel (BFU) and rural power system upgrades/
power generation (RPSU) across Alaska. The purpose of this program is 
to provide code-compliant bulk fuel storage and electrification 
throughout rural Alaska, especially for communities ``off the grid'' 
and not reachable by road or rail.
    The needs in the bulk fuel and power generation projects are 
presently estimated at $198 million and $211 million, respectively, in 
2004 construction costs. At FY 06 funding rates, it will take another 
eight to nine years for BFU and ten to eleven years for RPSU before 
these programs are completed. The Commission has also funded a very 
successful program of competitively selected energy cost reduction-
alternative energy projects. In three completed rounds of funding, 
approximately $6 million in grant funds have leveraged $8.1 million in 
participant funding, with estimated life-cycle cost savings (generally 
diesel fuel avoided over the life of the project) of $29 million.
    The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established new authorities for the 
Commission's Energy Program, with an emphasis on alternative and 
renewable energy projects, energy transmission, including interties, 
and fuel transportation systems. Although the 2005 Energy Policy Act 
did not include specific appropriations, the Commission is expected to 
carry out the intent of the Act through a portion of its ``Base'' 
funding. To date, the Commission has co-funded a number of renewable 
projects, including hydroelectric facilities, a geothermal power plant, 
a biomass boiler, and a number of diesel-

[[Page 2464]]

wind power generation systems. In FY 07 the Commission issued a request 
for proposals for alternative and renewable energy projects. The FY 08 
Work Plan outlines a strategy to rebalance the Energy Program in both 
legacy and renewable systems, providing up to $9,000,000 for 
alternative and renewable projects. About 94% of electricity in rural 
communities which receive Power Cost Equalization (PCE) payments is 
produced by diesel and about half the fuel storage in most villages is 
used for the power plants. Any alternative means of generating power 
can reduce the capacity needed for fuel storage. This reduces capital 
costs and operations and maintenance (O&M) and repair and renovation 
(R&R) costs for fuel storage facilities and may reduce the cost of 
power to the community.
    The Energy Program has historically used a ``universe of need'' 
model to determine project and program funding. Specifically, the 
Program is focused on using the existing statewide deficiency lists of 
bulk fuel facilities and power generation/distribution systems to 
prioritize project funding decisions. A program partnership model is 
utilized for project management and partners are actively involved in 
the design and construction of projects. Partners coordinate project 
funding requests with the Commission to balance the relative priority 
or urgency of bulk fuel and power generation needs against available 
funding, readiness of individual communities and project participants 
for the project(s), and capacity of the partners to carry out the work. 
Communities are identified by partners and through the deficiency list 
process. Legacy program (RPSU, bulk fuel and intertie) Projects are 
selected and reviewed by Commission staff and program partners. Thus, a 
renewable project sometimes is proposed in conjunction with a 
deficiency list project to reduce the dependence on diesel fuel, and 
the concomitant fuel storage requirements. So too, an intertie, can 
remove the need for a new power plant, and reduce fuel storage 
requirements in the intertied communities. Therefore, the legacy 
Program may include these types of energy infrastructure also. Each 
community and project must be evaluated holistically. Program partners 
also perform initial due diligence and Investment Policy screenings, as 
well as assisting in development of the business plans for the 
participants as the designs are underway. The Program is dynamic: 
priorities fluctuate throughout the year, based on design decisions, 
due diligence and investment policy considerations, site availability, 
the timing of funding decisions, etc.
    It is anticipated that alternative/renewable projects will be 
selected via a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, similar to the RFP 
utilized in FY 07. Commission staff and an independent body will review 
and select projects submitted via RFP. The Energy Advisory Committee, 
provides policy guidance to the Program. The Energy Advisory Committee 
does not select or prioritize individual projects.

Health Facilities Program

    The Denali Commission Act was amended in 1999 to provide for the, 
``planning, constructing and equipping of health facilities.'' Since 
1999, the Health Facilities Program has been methodically investing in 
the planning, design and construction of primary care clinics across 
Alaska.
    Primary care clinics have remained the ``legacy'' priority for the 
Program. However, in 2003 the ``Other Than'' primary care component of 
the Program was adopted in response to Congressional direction to fund 
a mix of other health and social service related facility needs. Over 
time, the Program has developed Program sub-areas such as Behavioral 
Health Facilities, Domestic Violence Facilities, Elder Housing, Primary 
Care in Hospitals, Emergency Medical Services Equipment and Hospital 
Designs.
    The Program utilizes a ``universe of need'' model for primary care 
and a competitive selection process for other sub-program areas. In 
1999 the Program created a deficiency list for primary care clinics, 
which totaled 288 communities statewide in need of clinic replacement, 
expansion and/or renovation. Currently, 70 clinics have been completed 
(either new construction or renovation), 33 are in construction and 62 
are in planning/design.
    The Program is guided by the Health Steering Committee, an advisory 
body comprised of the following membership organizations: the State of 
Alaska, Alaska Primary Care Association, the Alaska Native Tribal 
Health Consortium, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, the Alaska 
Native Health Board, the Indian Health Service, the Alaska State 
Hospital and Nursing Home Association, and the University of Alaska.
    Projects are recommended for funding by Commission staff if they 
demonstrate project readiness, which includes the completion of all due 
diligence requirements. This includes an approved business plan, 
community plan, site plan checklist, completed 100% design, 
documentation of cost share match, and realistic ability to move the 
project forward in a given construction season.
    The Health Facilities Program anticipates two major policy changes 
in FY 08, 1) the development of size guidelines for large clinics, as 
well as potential changes to the existing size guidelines for medium 
and large clinics, and 2) issuance of an RFP for the design of a 
multipurpose clinic/facility for communities with less than 100 year 
round residents.

Training Program

    In a majority of rural communities unemployment rates exceed 50% 
and per capita income rates are over 50% below the national average. 
When job opportunities in rural Alaska do become available, rural 
residents often lack the skills necessary to compete and often lose 
those jobs to people from outside the community, region or even state. 
With the limited number of jobs available, the Commission believes it 
is imperative to ensure that local residents have the skills and 
knowledge necessary to work on the construction of projects funded by 
the Denali Commission. In addition the Commission builds sustainability 
into the development of infrastructure by providing training for the 
long term management, operations and maintenance of facilities and thus 
increasing local employment at the same time.
    The Program's mission is to increase the employment and wages of 
unemployed or underemployed Alaskans through training for careers in 
construction, operations and maintenance of public facilities.
    The Program is also guided by the following principles:
     Priority on training for construction, operations and 
maintenance of public infrastructure.
     Training will be tied to a job.
     Training will encourage careers not short term employment.
     Funding will support a ``Training System''.
    To date the Commission has dedicated training funds to the careers 
associated with infrastructure development and long-term sustainability 
in rural Alaska. The Commission has funded construction, operations and 
maintenance training in communities statewide with large success.
    The Training Program's primary purpose is to support the 
Commission's investment in infrastructure development by providing 
training for the careers related to the Commission

[[Page 2465]]

infrastructure programs (such as Energy and Health Facilities).
    The Commission anticipates that the general priority areas of 
construction, operations and maintenance of Commission Projects; 
management training for Commission Projects; youth initiatives in 
support of Commission projects; and construction, operations and 
maintenance training of ``other public infrastructure'' will continue 
to be funded in FY 08. Projects are selected through various RFP 
processes with partners, and at the recommendation of Commission staff, 
and policy guidance and priority areas for funding are set by the 
Training Advisory Committee.
    Historically the Commission has provided funding directly to 
organizations that are able to deliver results in the priority areas as 
described above. These organizations have typically been selected by 
the Commission directly or through competitive requests for proposals 
managed by partner organizations.

Transportation

    On August 10, 2005, the President signed into law new highway 
program reauthorization legislation titled Safe, Accountable Flexible 
Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). 
This Act provides the Commission with $15 million annually for fiscal 
years 2005-2009 for a Denali Access System program. The Act also 
provides the Commission $10 million annually for Fiscal Years 2005-2009 
for docks, harbors and related waterfront development projects. The Act 
also outlined the array of road projects Denali Access System is 
designed to target, rural community streets and roads, roads between 
rural communities, state highway system; and roads to access resource 
development.
    The Act requires the formation of the Denali Access System 
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) to advise the Commission with 
members appointed by the Governor of Alaska. The nine member committee 
includes by law, four members who represent existing regional Native 
corporations, native non-profit entities, tribal governments and four 
members who represent rural Alaska regions or villages. The committee 
chair is Denali Commission Federal Co-Chair, George J. Cannelos.
    The TAC is a central feature of the amendments to the Denali 
Commission Act of 1998 that defines the Denali Access System. Section 
309 defines key committee responsibilities that include: recommend 
transportation priorities and funding strategies; develop public 
involvement and coordinating planning programs; develop annual capital 
budget recommendations; and coordinate multi-region projects.
    As a result of a TAC-directed public outreach and agency 
coordination effort, the program has now begun to focus attention on 
two important transportation needs: roads and boardwalks, and barge 
landing moorage systems. Village connector roads and roads to local and 
regional resources will continue to receive significant attention, but 
to the extent practical each year, local roads and boardwalks in small 
rural communities will receive primary attention. The program will also 
maintain its focus on dust control in villages. In the waterfront 
development program, docks and harbors in small coastal communities 
will continue to receive attention, but there is a significant need for 
barge landings in coastal and riverine communities to improve 
operational safety and efficiencies. This class of project will receive 
primary consideration each year to the extent funding and construction 
schedules allow.
    Another evolution in Program development, especially in the road 
Program, has been a shift from maximizing financial leveraging 
opportunities with other transportation agencies, to fully fund, as 
necessary, the program's highest priority projects. In FY 06, the $23 
million transportation program leveraged almost $100 million in 
projects. In coming years, while striving to leverage funding 
opportunities, an emphasis on priorities over funding partnerships will 
likely reduce the overall program joint-fund total. This has been 
critical because of the nature of the projects the Commission is able 
to fund. These projects are typically very important, but may not rise 
to prioritization for funding on State or other Federal transportation 
systems.
    The TAC reviews project nominations on a semi-annual basis, once in 
December for project selections and once during the summer to monitor 
project development.
    In addition to meeting transportation-specific criteria and 
processes, the Program fully incorporates Denali Commission policies 
including a commitment to sustainable community projects, and a 
commitment to the Commission's Investment Policy.

Solid Waste

    The Commission began receiving solid waste funding in FY 06. The 
Commission partners with USDA Rural Development to address deficiencies 
in solid waste disposal sites which threaten to contaminate rural 
drinking water supplies.
    Proper solid waste collection, processing and disposal are an 
essential public service that often presents a difficult challenge in 
rural Alaska. Due to several factors, including limited rural Alaska 
local government budgets, community remoteness, limited transportation 
infrastructure and obstacles posed by Alaska's severe climate, solid 
waste service is a prominent widespread deficiency in the context of 
Alaska's wide array of environmental issues and public health and 
quality of life issues.
    The program relies on a competitive RFP process to select and 
identify projects, and utilizes a multidiscipline review panel to 
ensure that projects meet all Commission due diligence and policy 
requirements. Program partners administer individual grant awards on 
behalf of the Commission. Typically this RFP process occurs once or 
twice in a given year depending on need and project eligibility.

Teacher Housing

    Teaching in rural Alaska can be one of the most rewarding and 
challenging professions. A critical issue for rural teachers is finding 
safe, affordable housing during the school year. Housing availability 
varies by community from newer adequate homes, to old housing units 
with multiple safety and structural problems, to a lack of enough 
available housing, requiring teachers to double-up or even live in the 
school.
    Teacher turnover rates are high in rural Alaska, with many teachers 
citing unavailable or inadequate housing as a factor in their decision 
to move. The quality of education received by students is impacted by 
teacher retention. By improving the availability and quality of housing 
for teachers, the Commission strives to also increase the quality of 
education received by the next generation of Alaskans.
    In FY 04, Congress directed the Commission to address the teacher 
housing needs in rural Alaska. The Commission launched a statewide 
survey of 51 school districts and rural education attendance areas to 
identify and prioritize the teacher housing needs throughout the state. 
Urban districts in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su and Juneau were not 
included in the survey.
    The Commission utilizes a program partnership model to implement 
the teacher housing program. An annual RFP process identifies eligible 
projects and other funding sources, such as debt service, available to 
fill the gap between the project's capacity to carry debt and the total 
development cost of the

[[Page 2466]]

project. Acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction, and multi-site 
rehabilitation are eligible development activities under this program.

Economic Development

    Since its earliest days as a territory of the United States, Alaska 
has contributed to the economy of America, largely through supply of 
raw materials or partially processed products. Now Alaska's abundant 
natural resources, from fossil fuel and mineral products to timber and 
fish, must compete in the global marketplace. Innovation and 
entrepreneurship have become critical to business success.
    One of the purposes of the Commission is economic development. The 
Commission firmly believes that sustainable economic development for 
Alaska's rural communities, like that of the rest of America, will be 
generated in the private, commercial sector, not within government. To 
that end, the Commission supports the development of public 
infrastructure upon which the private sector creates jobs and wealth, 
and helps ensure that good businesses and business ideas have a chance 
to become long-term, self-sustaining enterprises.
    Over the history of the Program, the Commission has supported and 
advanced a wide array of economic development program activities 
ranging from community profile mapping to supporting innovative models 
for lending, and equity investment in Alaska.
    The Program is guided by Commission staff and the Economic 
Development Advisory Committee, which provides general policy guidance 
and funding recommendations in broad categories. It is anticipated that 
FY 08 funds will be made available via an RFP process.

Government Coordination

    The Commission is charged with the special role of increasing the 
effectiveness of government programs by acting as a catalyst to 
coordinate the many Federal and State programs that serve Alaska. In FY 
08 the Commission will continue its role of coordinating State and 
Federal agencies and other partner organizations to accomplish its 
overall mission of developing Alaska's communities.

Other Emerging Issues

    The Commission anticipates an active role in the emerging issues 
and challenges related to erosion and relocation in Alaska in the 
future. The Commission is committed to partnering with other Federal, 
State and tribal entities to ensure that public policy solutions are 
developed in the most expedient, responsive and culturally-appropriate 
manner. While no funds are appropriated for the Commission for this 
purpose in FY 08, Commission staff are working diligently to ensure 
that communities that may experience erosion or relocation issues are 
being vetted and reviewed appropriately prior to infrastructure 
development occurring.
    The Commission is committed to innovative, cost-effective and 
creative design and construction solutions. To that end, the Commission 
anticipates engaging in more diverse and experimental partnerships in 
FY 08, and will be seeking innovative design, construction and program 
and project management practices.
    In FY 08 the Commission will be creating an ongoing, agency wide 
evaluation system to measure the outcomes of Commission programs. It is 
anticipated that this work will begin in late spring or early summer, 
and would be designed to provide by empirical and qualitative data 
regarding Commission programs, projects and overall goal 
accomplishments in a broad set of evaluation criteria. It is the 
Commission's intent to maintain high-level measures that are correlated 
to the Commission's goals related to improving access, reducing cost 
and improving the quality of services and facilities across Alaska. 
Program Advisory Committees, staff and Commissioners will play a 
critical role in shaping this evaluation methodology.

    Dated: January 9, 2008.
George J. Cannelos,
Federal Co-Chair.
[FR Doc. E8-519 Filed 1-14-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3300-01-P