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Treadwell: U.S. must actively study Arctic

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Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 2:55 am | Updated: 1:48 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

JUNEAU — The United States must work harder to advance scientific study of the Arctic, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell said Wednesday. He told a Juneau audience the work could focus, for example, on oil spill research.

Treadwell said the United States needs a robust fleet of icebreakers to compete amid increasing interest in claims and access to the Arctic Ocean. But he said the federal government has chosen “more studies” instead of heading calls from Gov. Sean Parnell and Alaska’s delegation in Congress for new vessels.

Treadwell was chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission before his 2010 campaign. He said Wednesday the state has other avenues to encourage more scientific research in the Arctic and northern Alaska. The state regularly comments on federal environmental and development actions and filed a lawsuit about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to designate much of northern Alaska’s offshore waters as critical habitat for polar bear.

Heavy interest in the Arctic by Canada, Russia and other nations has coincided with quickly receding ice shelves and improved estimates of oil and natural gas reserves.

“I believe the state has a very important role,” Treadwell said, in ensuring national and international governance “gets it right” in the Arctic.

Contact Chris Eshleman at 459-7582

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