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Lt. Gov. Treadwell Calls for Better Federal, State Relationship in the Arctic

April 17, 2013, Washington, DC – As the White House convenes agencies to develop a new Arctic strategy for the nation, Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell called for the federal government to recognize Alaska as a sovereign state, not merely another stakeholder in setting policy.

At the Brookings Institution event, Energy, Indigenous Communities, and the Arctic Council, in Washington, DC, Treadwell spoke about “Arctic Energy Governance” on a panel with Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes.

The lieutenant governor highlighted the need for better cooperation between federal and state agencies in order to realize the potential and address the challenges of the changing Arctic.

“That means having the state at the table, not just submitting comments,” Treadwell said. “For development and for shipping, we need reliability to attract investment, and we don’t have reliable permitting paths coming out of D.C. A new Arctic strategy has to get us there.”

Treadwell noted that federal regulatory delays and uncertainties meant Shell spent billions of dollars over almost a decade trying to develop resources in Alaska’s offshore waters. ConocoPhillips announced last week they are putting on hold plans to begin offshore exploration in 2014 because of regulatory uncertainties.

“We’ve agreed it is in our national interest to fill the Alaska pipeline. The state has cut taxes, but the federal plan – if there is one – to attract investments in the Arctic isn’t working,” Treadwell said.

The Brookings event brought together officials from Arctic nations, representatives from Arctic indigenous groups, and other experts on Arctic policy.

Treadwell thanks Iceland’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, for his remarks, which emphasized the value of the Arctic Council as a tool for international cooperation. Treadwell said he would participate in Grimsson’s new Arctic Circle – a collaboration among groups developing Arctic policy.

President Grimsson also recognized the work of former Department of Interior Secretary Wally Hickel in pioneering the vision of an accessible, connected Arctic.

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