SCR 17: Establishing and relating to the Alaska Northern Waters Task Force.

00 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 17 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 interaction among the ice, oceans, and atmosphere; 08 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 nine members as follows: 22 (1) one senator from Northwest Alaska appointed by the President of the 23 Senate; 24 (2) two representatives from Northwest Alaska appointed by the Speaker of 25 the House of Representatives; and 26 (3) six members appointed jointly by the President of the Senate and the 27 Speaker of the House of Representatives, as follows: 28 (A) one member representing the United States Coast Guard; 29 (B) one member representing the executive branch of state 30 government; 31 (C) the mayors of the North Slope Borough, Northwest Arctic

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