- Associated Press - Friday, January 30, 2015

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The Alaska Arctic Policy Commission is recommending the state take several steps to enhance Arctic communities in its final report, which was delivered to the Legislature on Friday.

The report’s recommendations include development of an Arctic port, revenue sharing, oil and gas exploration, spill prevention resources, home access to water, sewer and sanitation services in rural communities, reduced power and heating costs, workforce development and increased research.

The recommendations center around four areas of focus, which are also mentioned in the companion legislation introduced in the House and Senate. Those are: economic and resource development, infrastructure, healthy communities, and a state-based agenda for science and research.

Most of the specific goals identify state departments as the lead for carrying out the plans. State corporations, the governor’s office and other entities are also listed as leaders in executing some of the recommendations.

The report also suggested one or more Legislative committees focused on the Arctic.

Other suggestions in the report include basing more fishing vessels in Alaska, additional exploration and development in the Ambler mining district, more work mapping the Arctic, and better communication

The 26-member commission, which includes 10 legislators, has spent the past two years working on an Arctic policy for the state.

Commission members Rep. Bob Herron, D-Bethel, and Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, introduced companion bills this session to define the state’s Arctic policy.


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