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WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Postal Service, in response to a request made by multiple U.S. Senators, has agreed to delay the closing or consolidation of any Post Office or mail processing facility until May 15, 2012. The Postal Service will continue all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings.
The USPS is currently considering closing the post offices in Douglas, on Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base, Elmendorf Air Force Base and the Postal Store in downtown Anchorage. Thirty-one very rural post offices originally on the list were removed from consideration.
Alaska’s senators were among the senators requesting that the postal service rethink their closure plans.
Senator Murkowski had this to say of the USPS decision, “I’ve asked for two things from the United States Postal Service as it adapts to survive in a digital era: a thoughtful approach that considers up-to-date and accurate information and an awareness that Alaska’s geography is different from the lower 48’s. I am pleased that the USPS has heard my concerns, and the concerns of my colleagues. I hope this delay allows Congress to negotiate and pass a comprehensive, long-term solution for the postal service’s financial stability.”
Senator Begich also made an announcement following the meeting held on Monday, “I’ve spent months sending a strong message to the Postmaster General that Alaska post offices are the center of our rural communities and a necessary source of groceries, medicine and equipment,” said Sen. Begich. “Closing post offices can permanently damage Alaska communities and I’m glad the Postmaster General has recognized that Congress needs to be given an opportunity to do our job before closing the doors on our post offices. In the past year I’ve made several proposals for reforming the post office, including setting clear retail standards for USPS services in every community, and look forward to working with my colleagues on legislation before the end of this moratorium. I am committed to protecting universal service to Alaska communities and ensuring the success of the USPS in the 21st century.”
The Postal Service says that it hopes this period will help facilitate the enactment of comprehensive postal legislation. Given the Postal Service’s financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service stated that it must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue.
The United States Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.