The NWTF Final Report is now complete and available. If you would like to view it, the website is www.anwtf.com.
I am privileged to be a part of the Northern Waters Task Force and the important work that has been done to address issues in our northern coastal waters. To date, this Final Report is most detailed statement of Alaska’s Arctic Policy. I am grateful to the Chairman Representative Reggie Joule and his staff for all their hard work. I’d also like to coommend all the Task Force members and to those who participated in the public hearings across the state.
The 3 priority recommendations highlighted in the report are:
1. Providing Alaskans with opportunities to be involved in Arctic policy. This is an ongoing state, federal, and local process.
2. Creating an Alaskan Arctic Commission, which will enable Alaska to be better prepared for changes and development plans and to create a state strategy for the Arctic. It is expected that legislation establishing such a commission will be introduced soon.
3. Urging the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Ratification is critical for several reasons, primarily for allowing for the U.S. to claim sovereignty of the Arctic seafloor more than 200 miles north off Alaska’s coast and for our state to claim the economic benefits from this ownership.