Alaska Arctic Policy Commission Paves Path Forward for Final Report
Members clarify policy statements and recommendations during meeting in Anchorage
ANCHORAGE - For the past two days, the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission (AAPC) has been meeting in Anchorage to continue work on a final report due to the Legislature in January of 2015. The 26-member commission, co-chaired by Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) and Representative Bob Herron (D-Bethel), met at the Captain Cook Hotel to further delve into ideas and concepts presented in the AAPC’s preliminary report submitted to the Legislature in January and create the framework for an implementation plan. To take a look at that report, please click here.
“This has been a long two days of very hard work, but I am so proud at how all of our commission members rolled up their sleeves and dove into the details,” said Senator McGuire. “Alaska is what makes the U.S. an Arctic nation, and quite frankly, we know what is best for our environment, our indigenous cultures, and the Arctic lifestyle as a whole. If we are going to effectively put the United States as the leader of Arctic policy, we need to complete this critical work and I think we took a big step in that direction this week.”
"The commission worked hard on arctic policy issues – and new members Representative David Guttenberg and Representative Benjamin Nageak are conscientious and fully involved,” Representative Herron said. "We’ve sorted through all the policy recommendations, although there will also be some new ones. We’re well-positioned to work on an implementation plan this summer – the plan needed to bring these multifaceted recommendations to fruition. My fellow colleagues appreciate our executive director Nikoosh Carlo and her staff for their thorough preparation for this meeting and the upcoming meetings.”
The Commission’s work has already resulted in two significant pieces of Legislation passed by the Legislature during its 2014 Session. Senate Bill 140, sponsored by Senator McGuire, is designed to boost infrastructure development in the Arctic. SB140 creates incentives to attract private investment to build much needed ports, roads, emergency and telecommunications projects in the Alaskan Arctic.
House Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Representative Herron, 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.
Both pieces of legislation are currently waiting for Governor Parnell’s signature.
Over the next few months, members from the AAPC will meet in workgroups to address specific areas of the report and recommendations. The Commission’s next full meeting is scheduled during August in Kotzebue and Nome. To keep up on new developments with the AAPC, please bookmark this link: www.akarctic.com.