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Begich speech on Arctic Issues and Climate Change

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Uploaded on Aug 3, 2009

On August 3, 2009, Senator Mark Begich used his maiden speech on the Senate floor to recognize the 50th anniversary of Alaska statehood and to recognize the critical role the Arctic will play in the nation's commerce, foreign policy, and energy independence over the next 50 years. During this speech, he introduced a legislative package of seven bills designed to plan and prepare for the challenges in America's Arctic.

Senator Begich noted that Alaska is Ground Zero for the effects of global climate change. He cited numerous examples of these effects, such as Alaskan villages that have been eroded by the shrinking arctic icepack; the devastating effects of melting sea ice on species such as the polar bear, walrus, and seals; thawing permafrost causing homes to buckle; ocean acidification weakening the marine food chain; and warming water temperatures that are changing fish migration patterns.

The Inuvikput legislative package, named after the Inupiaq expression meaning, "the place where we live," consists of the following bills:

- Arctic Science, Coordination and Integration Act
- Arctic Ambassador Act
- Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment Implementation Act
- Arctic Oil Spill Research and Recovery Act
- Arctic OCS Revenue Sharing Act
- Arctic Health Research Act
- Arctic Climate Change Adaptation Act

Senator Begich also took time to remember Lu Young, wife of Representative Don Young, who passed away on Saturday, August 1.

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