Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote H.R. 441and H.R. 295 which were both introduced by Alaskan Congressman Don Young. H.R. 441, the Kantishna Hills Renewable Energy Act of 2011 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue permits for hydroelectricity projects in the Kantishna Hills area located within the Denali National Park. Additionally, this legislation would facilitate a small land exchange between the National Park Service and Doyon, Limited which owns and operates one of the facilities that can take advantage of a proposed hydroelectricity project.
“This is a win-win piece of legislation,” said Rep. Young. “Not only does my bill lower fossil fuel use in Denali, but it will also lower costs for lodge operators and visitors. Alaska has far too many resources to be burning diesel for electricity especially in a place where hydroelectricity can be developed.”
Congressman Young’s other piece of legislation that passed the House today, H.R. 295, would amend the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act to authorize much needed funds for hydrographic surveys and coastal mapping of the Arctic region. Currently, base hydrographic data in the Arctic is woefully inadequate and not sufficient to support current, let alone future, marine activity.
“America is an Arctic nation because of Alaska,” said Rep. Young. “With the sea ice thawing, we are seeing an increase in vessel traffic as well as more and more opportunities to develop resources located in the Arctic. It is crucial that as we continue to move forward in the Arctic, we have the latest nautical charts and coastal maps and that is exactly what my bill does.”