The Alaska State Legislature is currently reviewing a resolution that would provide extra support to the City of Nome for a deep draft port.
The three-pronged House Joint Resolution (HJR) 14 was put forth by Representative Neal Foster of Nome (D) and makes two requests from the state Department of Transportation (DOT):
- First, that the DOT send a letter in favor of Nome’s deep draft port to the Alaska Congressional Delegation;
- Second, it asks that the DOT provide technical advice to the City regarding the port.
Lastly, the resolution also requires the Alaska Congressional Delegation to pursue any and all infrastructure-related funding that could benefit the deep draft port project.
HJR 14 doesn’t require a financial obligation from the Department of Transportation (DOT). Instead, it shows that the State is behind Nome in planning what would be Alaska’s northernmost deep-draft port.
Mayor Richard Beneville of Nome lobbied in Juneau this week on behalf of the deep draft port, speaking to the House Transportation Committee on Thursday, saying,
“Alaska has half — more than half — the coastline of our entire country, and that coastline is vulnerable, and we need to do a lot of things about it, and a part of what we need to do is: there is no infrastructure, or very little, north of Dutch Harbor.”
The Mayor went on to say that the Port in Nome was an issue of national and economic security.
Thursday’s hearing by the House Transportation Committee did not include any testimony for public comments on HJR 14. Committee Co-Chair Adam Wool said that they would continue the conversation “shortly” but did not give a date for the next hearing.
Image at top: The Port of Nome at the mouth of the Snake River, June 2018. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM file.