Alaska legislature considers creating a climate change commission—and launching tours of Arctic refuge for Congress
One new bill in the Alaska House would create a state climate change response commission, while another would establish an Arctic National Wildlife Refuge tour program for members of Congress.
House Bill 173, from Anchorage Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson, was introduced Friday. It would establish the 15-member climate commission to apply for grants, monitor climate change, promote green technologies and look for ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The proposal comes in the wake of a climate change sub-Cabinet created by former Gov. Sarah Palin that stopped meeting under her successor, Sean Parnell.
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, took the unusual step of referring Josephson’s legislation to three different committees instead of the typical one or two, which will likely slow, if not halt, its progress.
Another Anchorage Democrat, Rep. Chris Tuck, unveiled a proposal Friday to create the ANWR tour program for members of Congress.
The refuge’s coastal plain has long been coveted for oil development by Alaska politicians. The refuge would see up to two trips a year for as many as 10 members of Congress under Tuck’s proposal, House Bill 169.
His bill says the Legislature could pay “reasonable” costs for the tourists’ airfare, meals and lodging but didn’t set a specific amount.