On Wednesday, July 7, 1999 -- FEMA Director James Lee Witt joined Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and a host of local government, business and nonprofit agency representatives to formally sign the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Project Impact Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
"Project Impact is our national effort to shift the focus from responding to disasters to adopting disaster-reduction measures," said Witt, poised to sign the joint-MOA. "I can tell you, my heart has been warmed watching people come together when disaster strikes; watching neighbor helping neighbor. I've seen what we can do when we focus, and I know we can make a difference."
Senator Stevens concurred. "It's sad to see areas where you have some disasters repeated again and again," said Stevens. "Project Impact gets people together before disaster strikes to reduce the damage and speed recovery."
FEMA provided $300,000 in "seed money" to energize the partnership, and provide a leverage source. The partnership already includes Kenai Peninsula Borough proper and all incorporated cities, many fire districts and police departments, the University of Alaska, and the Alaska Railroad. Business partners include Unocal, Tesoro Alaska Petroleum, Alaska Oil Sales, KRSM Radio and the Peninsula Clarion newspaper.
Initial mitigation priorities will target seismic retrofits for public buildings, flood plain buy-outs, and wildfire preparedness and prevention.