Delegation Applauds Presidential Memo on Alaska Mapping

Efforts will Address Gaps in the Arctic

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all R-Alaska, today issued the following statements after President Donald Trump directed federal agencies to map the shoreline and nearshore of Alaska and the United States exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“This is an important step for Alaska, especially for the Arctic as we are woefully behind in developing up-to-date maps for the region,” Senator Murkowski said. “The Arctic is crucial to our nation’s geopolitical, economic, and environmental well-being. Alaskans know this better than perhaps anyone else. Our waters are home to an abundant variety of untapped natural resources that can be used for food, medicine, and energy. Only a small part of the Arctic has been charted to modern standards, hindering the safety of maritime operations in the region. This Presidential directive builds on my own efforts to secure strong funding for NOAA's hydrographic surveys to address the backlog of charting needs in the Arctic. Mapping the waters around our state will provide valuable information on critical minerals and coastal resources while supporting safer shipping in the Arctic.”  

“As Alaskans, we depend on our oceans to provide for our families and drive our economy,” Senator Sullivan said. “Ensuring that the maps of both our state’s and nation’s waters are contemporary is vital to ensuring our economic growth and national security. The provisions outlined in this order will serve to bolster our understanding of our oceans and coastlines, and I commend the President for prioritizing this issue.”

“Ensuring our oceans are thoroughly mapped is one of the most important things we can do to protect our economy and the maritime careers that depend on safe, navigable waters,” Congressman Young said. “This order is once again proof that President Trump and his administration are strong partners for the State of Alaska. As the Arctic’s significance to our global economy continues to grow, a better understanding of our oceans will be crucial. I will continue working with the Alaska Delegation and the Administration to ensure that Alaska is well-equipped for the years ahead.”

President Trump’s memo builds upon a 1983 memo issued by President Ronald Reagan, which established the EEZ to advance the development of ocean resources and promote the protection of the marine environment. With more than 13,000 miles of coastline and 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean within its territorial jurisdiction, the United States’ EEZ is among the largest in the world and larger than the combined land area of all 50 states.

Related Issues: Defense, Energy, Arctic