Alaska legislators propose study of feasibility of Arctic region port

The Alaska Journal of Commerce – Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, has joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in arguing that increased navigability in the Arctic Ocean has made the ocean passage north of Alaska into a potentially valuable shipping route worth protecting militarily. Conditions in the Northwest Passage, which runs just above the northern coast of Alaska and Canada and connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, have changed such that the ice that formerly blocked ships from sailing through has all but disappeared. A bill Murkowski proposed last December, the Arctic Deep Water Sea Port Act of 2009, would require U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, along with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, to conduct a two-year study determining the feasibility of establishing a deep water port in the area to protect “U.S. strategic interests.” Young introduced an identical bill Feb. 2.

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