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The Hill: The changing Arctic presents opportunity to thrive, if we act now

Byline by Reggie Joule, mayor of the Northwest Arctic Borough, and Ron Duncan, CEO of GCI.

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The United States has been an Arctic nation since it purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, yet no sitting president has ever ventured to the Alaskan Arctic. That will change when President Obama arrives there later this month to address a conference on Arctic issues. While he has signaled his intent to focus on climate change, an important issue that affects us all, it should be one of many dimensions to our nation’s Arctic strategy.

There are many who have called the Arctic home for generations, and expect to for generations to come. There is much to be addressed in the Arctic to sustain our people’s presence here, and to assert our nation’s stewardship of the region. The timing is urgent, particularly in light of increased human activity from many nations related to shipping, oil and gas development, commercial fishing, military, and even tourism.

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