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Begich Asks Coast Guard to Explain and Reexamine Icebreaking

After learning that Nome will be denied 1.6 million gallons of fuel due to the rapid formation of sea ice in the wake of November’s major storm that ripped across Western Alaska, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has sent a letter to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) asking for them to justify and reexamine their use of icebreaking capacity.

The USCG has not expressed any intent to assist Nome at this time and Sen. Begich used his letter to remind the USCG of their past icebreaking assistance in the Lower 48 and the need to expand and improve icebreaking capacity in Alaska.

Sen. Begich writes:

“This pending fuel shortage in rural Alaska highlights the lack of Coast Guard icebreaking capability in the state.  Elsewhere in our nation, the Coast Guard frequently operates icebreakers and icebreaking tugs to keep waterways open and to allow for delivery of fuel and other critical commodities.   During the frigid January of 2011, the Coast Guard exercised its icebreaking capability in Chesapeake Bay to keep fuel deliveries moving in Maryland.  If the Coast Guard delivers this service in the Lower 48, why can’t it do so in our northern-most state?”

The letter is available for download online here.

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