Alaska Editorial: Working together

  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015 1:02am
  • Opinion

The following editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

It’s the Last Frontier’s last frontier — the Arctic.

The groundwork is being laid for infrastructure in Alaska’s coldest spot.

This will require research both on and off shore, and funding, which is contained in the federal government’s year-end budget bill.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has prioritized the Arctic, emphasizing its value to lawmakers on the Beltway. Their commitment will be necessary.

The Arctic is itself a natural resource, which contains a plethora of other attractions, especially oil. But it also has all manner of other resources.

Alaska and the nation must be active in the Arctic not only to participate in its development, but its preservation.

To that end, the budget bill provides funding to improve navigational aid and weather forecasting abilities in the Arctic. For example, buoys are needed to guide commercial fishermen, recreationalists and tourism vessels, and for the benefit of international commerce.

Infrastructure will include $7.2 million toward a polar icebreaker, the funding for which is in the budget. It also provides $640 million for a new national security cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard.

The budget also includes $10.8 billion — $1 billion more than President Obama requested — to improve readiness, modernize vessels and aircraft, and other improvements for the Coast Guard for an improving presence in the Arctic.

These improvements and other expenditures of federal funding are in the best interest of Alaska and the nation in a global economy.

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