Interagency Arctic Awareness Trip

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, in coordination with White House and federal agency officials, will be traveling throughout the Arctic region, Aug. 17-21, to participate in the new Ocean Policy Task Force, observe ongoing activities and meet with local and indigenous community leaders and industry representatives.

Adm. Thad Allen, will be accompanied by:
•    David Hayes, deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior
•    Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary for Commerce of Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator
•    Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
•    Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

The increasingly accessible and active Arctic region has significant environmental, scientific, economic and security impacts that have broad implications for all of the agencies participating and the public responsibilities they hold.

This high-level interagency visit, facilitated by the U.S. Coast Guard, will improve whole-of-government collaboration to address the challenges and seize the opportunities present in the Arctic and contribute to the quality of national policy recommendations from the OPTF, as well as overall implementation of the national Arctic Region Policy.

The OPTF, led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was established in July and is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning.

The travel itinerary will include Nome, Fairbanks, Barrow and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska areas.  The trip will culminate with a public meeting by the OPTF to be held in Anchorage, Alaska Aug. 21.

There are several opportunities for interested media to cover this trip:
•    Aug 17 – Nome, Alaska.  A Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness Flight will depart from Anchorage, Alaska and conduct a stop in Nome to visit with personnel participating in Operation Arctic Crossroads 2009.  This stop will include a media availability with the official travel party.  To participate or for more information call: (907) 463-2065 
•    Aug 18 – Fairbanks, Alaska, media availability details to be determined.  To participate or for more information send an e-mail to uscgpress@gmail.com.
•    Aug 21 – Anchorage, Alaska, press conference preceding the OPTF public meeting.  To participate or for more information call:  (202) 456-3469
Additionally, the travel party will provide updates on their activities and observations, including photos, videos and blog posts throughout.  A separate advisory detailing how to follow their trip via social media will be released shortly.

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