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Bush Caucus Praises Appointments to Northern Waters Task Force

State and federal interests collaborate on Alaska issues

Monday, August 23, 2010, Kotzebue, Alaska – The Alaska State Legislature today announced its appointments to the Northern Waters Task Force. The House Community and Regional Affairs committee sponsored the measure, which was signed into law earlier this month.

The Northern Waters Task Force is comprised of legislators, leaders from Arctic communities, and members representing key federal and state agencies. The members of the task force are Representatives Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue; Bob Herron, D-Bethel; Senators Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Larry Hartig; North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta; Unalaska City Manager Chris Hladick; Nome Mayor Denise Michaels; NANA Corp. Vice President Chuck Green; and Alaska Marine Conservation Council Chair Dave Kubiak. Senator

Donald Olson, D-Golovin; Rep. Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham; and Governor’s Office Fisheries Policy Advisor Cora Campbell will serve as alternates.

“I am very happy with the appointments, and the caliber of the members that have been appointed today,” Bush Caucus Chair Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue, said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I look forward to the challenges before us, and to speaking with people in communities that are impacted by changes in Arctic waters.”

The task force will facilitate the creation of a joint federal and state entity to coordinate U.S. and Alaska interests that result from opening Arctic waters for transportation, national security, and resource development.

“Alaska must be at the forefront of the decision-making process—and by forming the task force, Alaska will be there,” Joule said. “There is no better time than now to create this task force as a mechanism for Alaskans’ voices to be heard and included in the decisions being made at the federal level since several federal agencies have already begun their work on the issue and are pressing ahead. The task force will hold public hearings in communities impacted by warming Arctic waters and will take input from the local people on how they would like to be heard at the state and federal level.”

Northern Waters Task Force topic recommendations are due to Rep. Joule’s office by January 20, 2012.

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