Legislature(2015 - 2016)BARNES 124

04/07/2015 09:00 AM House ECON. DEV., TOURISM, & ARCTIC POLICY

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
09:32:09 AM Start
09:32:29 AM SJR16
09:53:09 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 9:30 a.m. Today --
-- Meeting Rescheduled from 4/6/15 --
Moved CSSJR 16(ARC) Out of Committee
                 SJR 16-ARCTIC ECONOMIC COUNCIL                                                                             
9:32:29 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HERRON announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
CS FOR  SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 16(ARC),  Expressing support                                                               
for  the Arctic  Economic Council  and the  United States  Arctic                                                               
Economic Council  delegation; requesting  that the  United States                                                               
Congress  express support  for the  Arctic Economic  Council, for                                                               
the chair  of the  Arctic Economic  Council to  be a  resident of                                                               
this state, and for the  structure of the Arctic Economic Council                                                               
leadership  to mirror  the rotation  of the  chair of  the Arctic                                                               
Council;  and  urging  the  United  States  Congress  to  empower                                                               
residents  of  the  state  as partners  in  the  Arctic  Economic                                                               
9:32:43 AM                                                                                                                    
TREVOR  GUTIERREZ, Intern,  Senator Lesil  McGuire, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, paraphrased  from the  sponsor statement  as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     The  Arctic  Council  was  established  by  the  Ottawa                                                                    
     Declaration  of  1996  to  function  as  a  high  level                                                                    
     intergovernmental   forum   to   promote   cooperation,                                                                    
     coordination,  and interaction  across the  Arctic. The                                                                    
     Arctic Economic Council was established  in 2012 by the                                                                    
     Arctic  Council.  The  Arctic Economic  Council  is  in                                                                    
     charge  of   fostering  business  development   in  the                                                                    
     Arctic,  engaging  in deeper  circumpolar  cooperation,                                                                    
     and  providing a  business perspective  to the  work of                                                                    
     the  Arctic  Council. SJR  16  asks  the Alaskan  State                                                                    
     Legislature to  express its confidence in,  and support                                                                    
     for,  the Arctic  Economic Council.  The United  States                                                                    
     will become chair  of the Arctic Council  in 2015. This                                                                    
     resolution  states  that  it  is  the  intent  of  this                                                                    
     legislature  to have  the  chairmanship  to the  Arctic                                                                    
     Economic  Council  parallel  the  chairmanship  of  the                                                                    
     Arctic Council.  I urge you to  support this resolution                                                                    
     emphasizing the importance of the  Arctic, and the role                                                                    
     that Alaskans will play in shaping its future.                                                                             
9:34:10 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HERRON opened public testimony on CSSJR 16(ARC).                                                                          
9:34:36 AM                                                                                                                    
TARA SWEENEY,  Vice-Chair, Arctic Economic Council,  informed the                                                               
committee the  Arctic Economic Council  (AEC) was created  by the                                                               
Arctic  Council   during  Canada's  chairmanship.     The  Arctic                                                               
Economic Council  consists of 42  members from the  U.S., Canada,                                                               
United Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland,  Norway, Sweden, Finland, and                                                               
Russia, in  addition to six permanent  participant organizations.                                                               
The strategic location of Alaska  makes the U.S. an Arctic nation                                                               
and   its   business   representatives   are   Crowley   Maritime                                                               
Corporation, Fairweather  L.L.C., and  the Bering  Straits Native                                                               
Corporation.   The U.S.  also has representation  in four  of the                                                               
six  permanent  participant  organizations including  the  Arctic                                                               
Athabascan   Council,  Gwich'in   Council  International,   Aleut                                                               
International  Association, and  the  Inuit Circumpolar  Council.                                                               
All of  the U.S. AEC  members are  Alaskans.  Ms.  Sweeney stated                                                               
the  resolution  is important  at  this  time  when the  U.S.  is                                                               
beginning to help shape guiding  principles for doing business in                                                               
the Arctic.   She said the U.S. delegation has  proposed that the                                                               
chairmanship of AEC mirror the  rotation structure of that of the                                                               
Arctic  Council,  and the  resolution  would  demonstrate to  the                                                               
other circumpolar  nations the support in  the U.S. for AEC.   In                                                               
addition, support  from the legislature strengthens  the position                                                               
of the Alaskans representing the U.S. on the council.                                                                           
CHAIR HERRON asked for Ms. Sweeney's travel schedule.                                                                           
MS. SWEENEY said her travels begin  tonight to attend a series of                                                               
meetings in Washington,  D.C., and then to Canada  for the annual                                                               
AEC meeting.   Following that she  will make a presentation  at a                                                               
meeting of  the Arctic Council  in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada.   In                                                               
further response to Chair Herron,  she said the incoming chair of                                                               
AEC has not  yet been determined; however, the desire  is for the                                                               
chair to rotate to the U.S.                                                                                                     
CHAIR HERRON suggested  that the governor sign  the resolution in                                                               
9:40:02 AM                                                                                                                    
DRUE PEARCE informed the committee she  is a former member of the                                                               
Alaska State  Legislature and has  been working on  Arctic issues                                                               
in Alaska  for many years.   Ms. Pearce acknowledged the  work of                                                               
Senator  McGuire and  the  Alaska  State Senate.    She said  she                                                               
participated in  the initiation of  the Arctic  Economic Council,                                                               
which  seeks  to provide  advice  and  council from  the  private                                                               
business sector  to their  federal counterparts.   The work  of a                                                               
taskforce led  to the  formation of  AEC in  order to  provide an                                                               
opportunity   for    indigenous-owned   and   nonindigenous-owned                                                               
businesses  in the  Arctic  to showcase  their  products, and  to                                                               
establish contacts  with their governments.   Ms. Pearce traveled                                                               
to St. Petersburg  as a member of the  circumpolar business forum                                                               
which became the Arctic Economic  Council.  Of the eight founding                                                               
nations, the  U.S. is  the "most  reluctant" participant,  so co-                                                               
chairs  of the  Arctic Policy  Commission sent  her and  business                                                               
representatives to the  AEC organizational meeting.   At a second                                                               
meeting in  Ottawa, Canada, Ms.  Sweeney was elected as  a member                                                               
of  AEC's  executive  committee.   She  pointed  out  the  Arctic                                                               
Council differs  from AEC in  that the permanent  participants do                                                               
not  vote,  although  "their voices  are  very  persuasive  ...."                                                               
Conversely,  AEC permanent  participants will  hold positions  on                                                               
the executive committee and will  have voting rights, although no                                                               
determination  has  been  made  as   to  whether  a  decision  by                                                               
consensus  will  be  required.    In the  near  future,  the  AEC                                                               
executive  committee  will brief  the  ministers  from the  eight                                                               
countries to  inform them  of its agenda.   Ms.  Pearce expressed                                                               
her excitement over these developments  and welcomed support from                                                               
the  legislature, the  Alaska Congressional  delegation, and  the                                                               
U.S. Senate.                                                                                                                    
9:45:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  asked Ms.  Pearce to  elaborate on  why the                                                               
U.S. was a reluctant participant.                                                                                               
MS.  PEARCE responded  that even  through the  U.S. Secretary  of                                                               
State  John Kerry  signed the  administrative documents,  she was                                                               
advised that  there is reluctance  to providing a  private sector                                                               
group  direct access  to interact  with senior  Arctic officials.                                                               
However, she said the organization is making progress.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES agreed  these  are exciting  times in  the                                                               
Arctic and for Alaska.                                                                                                          
MS. PEARCE  noted that  AEC will  meet every  year and  the first                                                               
meeting during the U.S. chairmanship will be in Alaska.                                                                         
CHAIR  HERRON surmised  the reluctance  by  the state  department                                                               
toward AEC  is because it  represents the private  sector whereas                                                               
in other  Arctic Council governments, Norway,  for example, there                                                               
is  little  difference  between  a  state-owned  business  and  a                                                               
privately-owned  business.   He  mentioned  likely locations  for                                                               
meetings in Alaska over the next two years.                                                                                     
9:49:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  PEARCE  relayed  that  the   governor  has  expressed  great                                                               
interest in the Arctic and has  named Craig Fleener as his Arctic                                                               
specialist,   and  she   reviewed  Mr.   Fleener's  international                                                               
background and experience.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  ORTIZ  inquired  as  to whether  members  of  the                                                               
Arctic Council and the AEC overlap.                                                                                             
MS. PEARCE was unsure, although that is possible.                                                                               
9:52:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HERRON closed public testimony on CSSJR 16(ARC).                                                                          
9:52:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES moved  to  report [CSSJR  16(ARC)] out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSSJR  16(ARC) was                                                               
reported   from  the   House   Special   Committee  on   Economic                                                               
Development, Tourism, and Arctic Policy.                                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects