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Governor Parnell Urges Congress to Take Leadership in Arctic Policy

SJR10 calls for appropriate funding for new Coast Guard base, vessels and facilities

ANCHORAGE-Today, Governor Sean Parnell put his stamp of approval on Senate Joint Resolution 10, introduced by Senator Giessel, R-Anchorage Hillside/Turnagain Arm/North Kenai.  SJR 10 promotes and protects Alaska’s international interests by urging Congress to take a leadership role in guiding international Arctic policy through our nation’s diplomatic, military, and economic means. 

“Alaska is the only reason the U.S. is an Arctic nation.  It is critical for us to make sure our voices are heard when these decisions are made,” Senator Giessel said. “In order for our nation to take this leadership role, we need an Arctic Coast Guard base, new icebreakers and research vessels to continue our presence in the Arctic waters and preserve our sovereign territorial rights.    SJR 10 emphasizes the leadership role of both Alaska and the U.S. in the ongoing development of international Arctic policy.”

SJR 10 asks Congress to provide sufficient funding to expand the Coast Guard’s Arctic operations and highlights the importance of the Alaska’s participation in the international Arctic Council.

The international Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental entity that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.  It has eight member countries:  Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.  Six indigenous communities have permanent participant status: Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich’in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and the Saami Council. 

Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell participates as Alaska’s representative.  SJR 10 acknowledges and appreciates this involvement and encourages Congress to continue to assert its Arctic interests with particular emphasis on the well-being of Alaska.

Senator Giessel serves as a member of the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC), which was created last year by the Legislature to help develop the state’s Arctic policy and strategy.  The AAPC is made up of 26 Commissioners, including 10 Legislators and 16 experts from throughout the state. 

“One of the most important aspects of the AAPC’s work will be positively influencing federal Arctic policy.  We can't afford to be left behind in the Arctic policy discussion," said Senator Giessel, R-Turnagain Arm/North Kenai.  "That's why we are holding several very intense discussions in different communities around the state.  We need to move now so that we get a seat at the table as these critical issues are addressed.”

For more information on AAPC, click here.  The next AAPC meeting is scheduled for August 28 and 29 in Unalaska.

For more information, please call Sharon Long in Senator Giessel’s office at 907-269-0181.

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