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Begich Applauds Climate Center in Alaska

Interior announces University to host first of eight in country

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today praised a decision by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) to open the first of eight regional Climate Science Centers at the University of Alaska. Interior Sec. Ken Salazar today announced the Center saying with rapidly melting Arctic sea ice and permafrost, and threats to Alaska coastal communities; Alaska is ground zero for climate change.

"I'm glad to see Secretary Salazar and the Department of Interior recognize climate change is a serious problem and put federal resources in place to understand how it impacts Alaska now and into the future," Begich said. "The effects of climate change are already far greater in Alaska than any other part of the country, and this Center will allow cooperation and consultation between federal experts and the world-class expertise of the UA system's climate researchers."

Sec. Salazar said the DOI hopes to have the new Climate Science Center at the University of Alaska formally established in Anchorage within six to eight weeks. In addition to the Alaska region, Climate Science Centers will be selected in seven other areas throughout the U.S.

"Alaska has tens of millions of acres of public lands under Interior's jurisdiction," Salazar said in his announcement. "A strong functioning partnership between federal and state agencies, Native communities, and other stakeholders will enable the Alaska Climate Science Center to hit the ground running."

For more information go to  http://doi.gov/whatwedo/climate/strategy/index.cfm.

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