Thursday, May 23, 2013
Alaska Lawmakers Suggest Closer Coordination with Canada
Three Alaska lawmakers are saying the state should work more closely with Canada's two northwest territories on common interests.
JUNEAU - Three Alaska lawmakers are saying the state should work more closely with Canada's two northwest territories on common interests.
A resolution would direct state government to collaborate with the Yukon and Northwest Territories through the intergovernmental Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) and its special Arctic Caucus. It also urges the Alaska Legislature to "work with the legislative assemblies" of the two territories to develop a "synchronized message detailing the common needs" with respect to their federal governments.
The Arctic Caucus is just more than a year old. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell wrote to the state House of Representatives' economic development committee Monday backing the premise of regional cooperation focused on resource development, environmental protection, development of shipping routes, energy projects and other common interests.
"The Arctic Caucus of PNWER, and PNWER itself, is a way for us to get the word out about these important things we do, and want to do," wrote Treadwell, a former chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
The trio's measure states "coordinated United States and Canadian federal policies are vital to the welfare of Alaska, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories." Rep. Bob Herron, D-Bethel, and a pair of colleagues, one Democrat and one Republican, are pushing the bill.
Matt Morrison, PNWER's CEO, said less-populated provinces and territories in Canada can more effectively deal with their national capital when working together.
"They have a whole different opportunity in Ottawa by working with Alaska ... and I think we do in (Washington,) D.C. as well," he told the committee by phone Monday.
The measure is House Joint Resolution 15.
Contact staff writer Chris Eshleman at 347-7844.