It may be the education session in Juneau, as declared by the governor, or the gasline session, but it’s also the Arctic Session, according the Arctic Policy Commission co-chair, Lesil McGuire. The commission released its preliminary set of recommendations a couple weeks into the session.
The 136 page document is guided by four broad visions for the Arctic of the future. The first deals with people. The plan envisions an arctic that values Community Sustainability and Thriving Cultures. The second advances Economic Development and the same time, a healthy environment. A third concerns public safety. Bethel Representative Bob Herron is a co-chair of the commission.
“We want to have a safe place to live, we want to ensure public safety, and with our federal government, a national security that protects the coast: the lands and waters of Alaska,” said Herron.
A slew of bills were introduced at the start of the session. SB154 creates an Arctic Port Authority, which Senator McGuire says intends to “depoliticize” the choice of Arctic ports and to offer a holistic port plan..
Another that was first looked at this week expands the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s (AIDEA) tools by extending its authority for loans in order to develop Infrastructure in the Arctic.
The commission is seeking input on the plan and looking into how to implement of those recommendations this year. They also want more of the country to know more about the changes and opportunities taking place in the arctic every day.
“To understand the issue of how we are the arctic state of the United States, the only one. If Alaska was not part of the United States, we would not be an Arctic nation. And fortunately we are,” said Herron.
The final report is expected in 2015. You can view the report at Akarctic.com.