Bill to Spur Point Spencer Development Signed Into Law

Today U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) released the following statement after President Obama signed into law the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, which contains a provision to convey approximately 2,500 acres of federal land at Point Spencer, Alaska to local, state, and federal stakeholders:

“This is a great step towards future investment in Alaska’s Arctic, giving Alaskans the ability to speed up the timetable for economic investment in the Arctic region. The bill empowers Alaskans to be a more active participants in activities in the North and provides an opportunity for increased development in the region. This bill facilitates public-private partnerships, bringing in local knowledge and expertise as we move forward in the Arctic. It is one of the first steps in achieving a series of ports and infrastructure projects that will help make Alaska a leader in the Arctic.”

Background: In May 2015 Senator Murkowski and Congressman Don Young (R-AK) introduced bicameral legislation, the Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act, to streamline future infrastructure development and potential uses of Point Spencer, Alaska by calling for the transfer of federal land. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), a co-sponsor of the legislation and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, supported inclusion of the bill in the Coast Guard Authorization Act (H.R. 4188), which passed the Senate in December, passed the House in January, and was signed into law by President Obama yesterday.

The Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act will establish a public-private partnership between Bering Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) and the State of Alaska in an effort to bring timely development to Alaska’s Seward Peninsula. Among stakeholders, the U.S. Coast Guard would retain its footprint in the region to support their statutory mission and duties, while the partnership will be conveyed lands to establish a U.S. Arctic deep draft port.