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rep. Herron Introduces Legislation Focusing on Alaska's Future

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Juneau, Alaska - Representative Bob Herron, Co-chair of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, introduced two pieces of legislation today designed to set in motion the next step in Alaska’s Arctic future.

House Joint Resolution 24 urges the United States State Department to consider Alaska’s priorities and work with the state when the United States becomes Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. The resolution also asks that the State Department confer with Alaskan officials while considering an individual to lead the Arctic Council.

“This resolution makes it clear that Alaska is ready for what the future holds in the Arctic, and that Alaska wants to be considered an important partner during our country’s time as Chair of the Arctic Council,” Herron, D-Bethel, said. “We want to be invited to the dance.”

“Alaskan’s live, work, and play in the Arctic and because of this our perspective on the Arctic is unique in the U.S.,” Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, AACP Co-chair, said. “It is important that our voice is heard while making important decisions like the selection of the Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015.”

House Bill 288 represents the next stride forward after the hard work and subsequent recommendations of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission.  “Many of the recommendations made by the AAPC are a blueprint for legislative action,” Herron said. 

House Bill 288 is the companion measure for Senate Bill 140 which was introduced earlier this week by Senator McGuire.

“For economic growth and development to occur in the Arctic, both public and private actors must work together to boost investment,” McGuire said.  

“With HB 288/SB 140, innovative financing mechanisms backed by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority will be designed to attract private investment and bring to fruition Arctic infrastructure projects like roads, ports and broadband internet,” Herron said. “AIDEA investment would only be one-third of a total project cost, leveraging private money. This type of public-private partnership provides the most benefit for the least cost to the state.

“HB 288 creates an Alaskan Arctic economic opportunity zone,” Herron said. “AIDEA financing for well-vetted Arctic projects are needed to begin developing the infrastructure that will lead to a prosperous Arctic region in Alaska.”

The AAPC will deliver its preliminary report to the Legislature on January 30, 2014 and the final report on January 30, 2015.  The preliminary report will be posted on the AAPC website on Thursday January 30, 2014: AkArctic.com

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