Alaska editorial: Law of the Sea- US should approve treaty

This editorial first ran in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

The U.S. Senate is again poised to take up the proposed Law of the Sea treaty, which has languished for 30 years. It remains a missing piece in the puzzle of future Arctic development.

The treaty has been approved by 161 nations and all of the world’s industrialized countries and those that have Arctic territory — with the exception of the United States.

The treaty, which is supported by Alaska’s U.S. senators, enjoys broad bipartisan support in the U.S., as well as from industry, environmental and military leaders, but its approval has been blocked by those who claim it would relinquish U.S. sovereignty.

On the contrary, this treaty would give the United States more power to exercise maritime rights and responsibilities. Without this legal framework, our ability to lead in the development of future international rules regarding the oceans will be next to nil.

“Not since we acquired the lands of the American West and Alaska have we had such an opportunity to expand U.S. sovereignty,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a recent speech to the Atlantic Council of the United States.

The expansion is crucial for Alaska because of the prospect that declining sea ice will lead to great resource development in the decades ahead by many nations. With both increased risks and opportunities off the Alaska coast, our state has more to gain with the approval of this measure and more to lose with its rejection than most other states.

Approval of the treaty would allow the U.S. to claim jurisdiction to the continental shelf beyond the 200-mile limit, an area twice the size of California.

Without becoming a party to this agreement, there will be no international recognition of any such effort by the U.S., which puts our nation and our state at a great disadvantage.

We agree with Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich that U.S. approval of the treaty, which took effect in 1994 after it was approved by 60 nations, is a crucial part of creating a sound Arctic policy for the United States.

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 11:53

Stand with Alaskans and stand with Planned Parenthood

I appreciate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s recent decision to support repealing the Trump administration’s global gag rule. The global gag rule bans federal money for overseas family planning programs if the programs also provide abortion, or provide information about abortion. The global gag rule puts thousands of lives at risk, and Murkowski has rightly recognized that. I praise Murkowski, and want her to know that Alaskans stand with her in supporting access to family planning services. This means that we support Planned Parenthood, and we hope she will stand with us in the coming weeks by refusing to vote for any changes to the Affordable Care Act that include defunding Planned Parenthood. Read more

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:42

Alaska editorial: The opioid issue

This editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:41

Expanding apprenticeship in rural Alaska

We are proud to announce a new statewide training initiative: the Alaska Maritime Apprenticeship Program. Over the past year, the Calista Corporation, in partnership with the state and federal government, has built a Registered Apprenticeship program to train Alaskans for careers on deck, in the engine room, and in the galley, earning both a salary and an industry-recognized credential. Working with a group of companies including Brice Marine and Yukon River Towing, we are expanding career and training opportunities for Alaskans in the maritime industry.

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Wed, 02/22/2017 - 08:40

Transboundary mining: Defending Alaska’s interests

It is a big week for Alaska’s capital city. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are in town to address the Alaska State Legislature, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) Board of Directors, and all Alaskans. There are a number of issues on which the state of Alaska, including our elected decision makers at both the state and federal levels, can show unity. One of those critical issues is asking the U.S. federal government to defend Alaskan interests in the Alaska-British Columbia (B.C.) transboundary mining issue.

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