Washington, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young, co-chair of the Congressional Arctic Working Group, recently wrapped up a visit to Portland, ME for the Arctic Council’s Senior Officials Meeting (SAO). Young’s visit included various meetings, discussions and events focused on cooperation, coordination and interaction among Arctic nations and stakeholders.
As the only member of the Alaska congressional delegation in attendance, Congressman Young worked to educate others on the unique challenges and opportunities we face as an Arctic nation, including resource development, national security needs and the development of ports, polar icebreakers, and other infrastructure. In addition, Young focused on collaboration between Maine and Alaska, which share many commonalities, including active marine and fishery economies.
The gathering represented the third SAO meeting of the Arctic Council. Juneau, AK will host the next SAO meeting from March 7-9, 2017. The U.S Chairmanship of the Arctic Council will conclude following the May 2017 Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, AK.
Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable
Young participated in the Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable, a gathering of U.S Arctic leaders focused on the many opportunities to collaborate on investments and decision-making. Young emphasized the need for new maritime infrastructure and navigational aids as shipping increases through the “choke point” to the Arctic – the Bering Strait. The roundtable included various Alaska and Maine officials, business and community leaders, and researches to share their perspectives, priorities and best practices related to the Arctic.
Congressman Young speaking at the Maine-Alaska Arctic Roundtable (click here to watch).
Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit
Congressman Young welcomed members from the scientific community during the Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit, which included discussions on the coordination and increased efficiency of how the federal government conducts and funds ocean research, data collection, and critical infrastructure for identifying extreme weather events and national security threats. Young is a longtime leader and advocate for the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (IOOS), of which Alaska is home to one of eleven regional associations.
Congressman Young speaking at the Ocean Observing Systems Mini-Science Summit (click here to watch).
Lobster Wholesaler Tour
In addition, Congressman Young joined Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) on a tour of a Portland-based lobster wholesaler – Ready Seafood – to gain in depth knowledge of our nation's diverse fishing industry. Young, a long-time leader on national fisheries policy and an original co-author of the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act, introduced and passed H.R. 1335 in the 114th Congress to update the laws governing commercial and recreation fishing in U.S. federal waters.
Congressman Young touring Ready Seafood, Portland- based lobster wholesaler (click here to watch). For B-roll of Congressman Young’s visit, click here.
Congressman Young began the week by attending the Maine Arctic Forum and Showcase, which included a presentation by Alaska Tara Sweeney, Chair of the Arctic Economic Council.
Congressman Young speaking to Senator Angus King (ME-I) at the Maine Arctic Forum and Showcase
Congressman Young speaking to Admiral Robert Papp, former Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic, on national security needs in the Arctic.