CSHCR 22(FIN): Establishing and relating to the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force.

00 CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 22(FIN) 01 Establishing and relating to the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS Alaska is the only Arctic state in the nation; and 04 WHEREAS recent warming trends have resulted in the depletion of Arctic perennial 05 sea ice by nine percent a decade; and 06 WHEREAS, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the 07 rate of depletion is accelerating because of the interaction among the ice, oceans, and 08 atmosphere; and 09 WHEREAS rapidly retreating sea ice is altering fish and wildlife habitats and 10 affecting the accessibility and viability of certain species, on which many local communities 11 rely for nutritional and cultural purposes; and 12 WHEREAS reduced sea ice is affecting polar route navigation by opening oceans 13 previously frozen year-round; and 14 WHEREAS the new accessibility of the Northern waters is resulting in increased 15 marine transportation, access to resources, tourism, fisheries, and the presence of United 16 States government agencies in the North; and

01 WHEREAS the waters of Northern Alaska are of national security and strategic 02 importance to the United States and the State of Alaska; and 03 WHEREAS, because of national security concerns, the United States Coast Guard is 04 increasing its presence in the North and has plans to build new infrastructure to support its 05 heightened activity, including housing and office facilities and possibly a deep water port; and 06 WHEREAS Northern Alaska contains important mineral and other resources both in 07 state waters and on the outer continental shelf; and 08 WHEREAS commercial activities, including resource development, and the revenue 09 they generate for the state may be significantly affected by the changing Arctic waters; and 10 WHEREAS those changes will affect local communities, businesses, the state, and 11 the natural resources on which they rely; and 12 WHEREAS there is no comprehensive state plan for Alaska's Northern waters; and 13 WHEREAS various federal agencies and international bodies are working together to 14 form a commission to address the changing ocean patterns and the opportunities and problems 15 that may arise as a result of those changing patterns; and 16 WHEREAS the State of Alaska should be involved in the process of forming the 17 commission; and 18 WHEREAS a comprehensive plan to address the warming ocean, including the 19 economic, ecological, and security effects, will benefit the state and its residents; 20 BE IT RESOLVED by the Alaska State Legislature that the Alaska Northern Waters 21 Task Force is created in the legislative branch and shall consist of 11 members as follows: 22 (1) two senators appointed by the President of the Senate; 23 (2) two representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of 24 Representatives; and 25 (3) seven members appointed jointly by the President of the Senate and the 26 Speaker of the House of Representatives, as follows: 27 (A) five public members, three of whom reside in coastal areas of the 28 state; 29 (B) one member representing the executive branch of state 30 government; 31 (C) one member representing the federal government; and be it

01 FURTHER RESOLVED that a vacancy on the task force shall be filled in the 02 manner of the original appointment; and be it 03 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislators on the task force shall select a chair 04 from among themselves and the chair may assign staff to provide support to the task force; 05 and be it 06 FURTHER RESOLVED that the public members, and, if the member does not 07 receive reimbursement for expenses from the federal government, the federal government 08 member of the task force may receive per diem and travel expenses authorized for boards and 09 commissions under AS 39.20.180; and be it 10 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force may meet during and between legislative 11 sessions and the duties of the task force include the following: 12 (1) assess and facilitate creation of a state and federal commission responsible 13 for overseeing the development of state and federal northern ocean waters; 14 (2) facilitate regional coordination, cooperation, and outreach regarding the 15 creation of the commission to keep local stakeholders informed and to incorporate their input 16 into the process; 17 (3) identify and coordinate efforts of mutual concern for federal, state, and 18 local agencies, as well as international interests in the creation of the commission; and 19 (4) conduct hearings in the Northern region of the state to fulfill its purpose; 20 and be it 21 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall provide recommendations 22 regarding the formation of the commission and shall deliver a preliminary report of its 23 findings to the legislature by January 20, 2012, and deliver a final report to the legislature on 24 January 30, 2012, together with legislative proposals for consideration; and be it 25 FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force shall be available for legislative hearings 26 regarding its final report and recommendations; and be it 27 FURTHER RESOLVED that the continuation or termination of the task force shall 28 be reevaluated during the Second Regular Session of the Twenty-Seventh Alaska State 29 Legislature.