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Lt. Governor Calls for Sustainability through Partnerships in Keynote Address to Alaska Forum on the Environment

February 8, 2011, Anchorage, AKLieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell delivered the keynote address at the Alaska Forum on the Environment yesterday, opening the five-day conference for members of the scientific and conservationist community, private industry, tribal leadership, state and federal officials, and community representatives from across Alaska.

Lt. Governor Treadwell highlighted Alaska’s efforts towards a sustainable future through creating stronger partnerships with fellow Arctic nations and within local communities.

“The partnerships we create at home are the model for what we do abroad,” Lt. Gov. Treadwell said.  “If Alaska is strong, America is strong, and the international Arctic is strong.”

The lieutenant governor said that strong partnerships in the Arctic are necessary because of Alaska’s strategic location as ice movement creates new shipping routes, and its significant resource and energy potential (13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 23% of undiscovered gas, as well as tidal, wind, geothermal and biomass renewable energy potential).

But Alaska’s freedom to create greater sustainability is threatened by a broken federal permitting system, the lieutenant governor said.

“Right now, there’s a big hammer at the end of the process, just waiting to slam down on us,” Lt. Gov. Treadwell said. “We need to agree on the question.  The question is not whether we develop our resources; it’s how do we do it?  Fixing the permitting process does not mean we protect the environment less.  It means we protect it – and our people, our futures – more,” Treadwell said.

Lt. Gov. Treadwell spoke in support of the effort by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to “manage for abundance,” noting that the department is looking for partnerships with the Alaska Moose Federation and others in a plan to save moose calves orphaned by road kill accidents.  Treadwell commended efforts to significantly strengthen diminishing moose populations by rescuing calves that are otherwise killed, and sending them to rural areas to be raised until they can be released back into the wild.

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