Eroding Alaska island village votes to move to mainland

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2016 9:02 AM
Eroding Alaska island village votes to move to mainland

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Residents of a tiny island village in Alaska have voted to move from their badly-eroded home to the mainland, but there likely isn't enough money for the impoverished community of just 600 people to follow through on the decision.

The Inupiat Eskimo village of Shishmaref held a special election Tuesday asking residents if they should develop a new community at a nearby mainland location or stay put with added environmental protections. Unofficial ballot returns show 89 voted for the move, while 78 opted to stay. A city clerk said the count does not include absentee or special needs ballots.

Either option is pricey. A 2004 Army Corps of Engineers study put the cost of relocating to the mainland at $180 million. Staying in place would cost $110 million.