The U.S. Senate is expected to a pass a sweeping bill authorizing dozens of water projects Wednesday.
Included is a provision that Alaska’s senators say could ease the way to an Arctic port.
The Senate agreed by unanimous consent – meaning the chamber found it to be noncontroversial enough that it didn’t require a vote – to allow private companies to partner with the federal government in deep port construction.
Senator Mark Begich says over the last few months many shipping companies and other investors have expressed interest in possibly building an Arctic port. But federal rules make it too difficult to form public-private partnerships with the Army Corps of Engineers.
He says this amendment, sponsored by both he and Senator Lisa Murkowski, will ease the burden for private companies.
“It allows for some flexibility for port development in Alaska that can tap into private sector resources to build ports with federal, and or state governments, and the Corps is part of the equation.”
While the delegation is hopeful for infrastructure prospects in the Arctic, this bill only authorizes the partnerships.
It does not appropriate any money for specific projects.
- The Haines area used to be a Tlingit stronghold, ruled by an alliance between the prosperous Chilkat and Chilkoot people. A new Haines Sheldon Museum exhibit explores how the Native territory gradually gave way to white settlement in the late 1800s. The exhibit will anchor the museum’s upstairs space for at least two years.
- "If this technology goes the way that leading experts are predicting, we could see the entire corridor as a freeway could be autonomous by 2040,” said transportation consultant Scott Kuznicki.
- Concerns over animal welfare have led to changes in recent years in how livestock are raised. But seafood has been missing from the conversation. One group aims to change that.
- “I don’t know if the gravity really is hitting everybody, but we’ve been arguing for recognition since statehood, and under this administration the attorney general has provided an opinion that, yes, tribes do exist, that we have inherent sovereignty,” said Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.