Biden names new commissioners to US Arctic Research Commission
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President Joe Biden has appointed commissioners to the US Arctic Research Commission and designated a new chair.
A Sept. 24 statement from the White House said the U.S. depends on the USARC commissioners for “insightful guidance and rational, unbiased assessments of actions to maintain our position as an Arctic nation guided by science,” and said Biden’s “appointments reflect his commitment to ensure that USARC’s focus on scientific research goals and objectives for the Arctic are derived from a broad range of expertise and perspectives.”
Two-thirds of the appointed commissioners are residents of Alaska, one-third are Indigenous, half are women, the White House said.
Legislation establishing the commission specifies four commissioners will have academic or research experience, two will have industry perspectives and one will be an Indigenous representative.
David Kennedy, appointed by President Trump in December 2020, was appointed to a second term on the commission. Kennedy, formerly with the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute in Fairbanks, spent 30 years with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration before retiring in 2014.
The newly designated chair is Dr. Michael Sfraga of Fairbanks, founding director of the Polar Institute and director of the Global Risk and Resilience Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Sfraga was with the University of Alaska for more than 30 years.
Elizabeth Qaulluq Cravalho of Kotzebue served on the Alaska Arctic Policy Commission and will hold one of the seats for representatives of private industry. She is vice president of lands at NANA Regional Corp., the Alaska Native corporation for Northwest Alaska.
Dr. Mark Myers of Anchorage, a geologist appointed by President George W. Bush as the 14th director of the U.S. Geological Survey, has worked for the State of Alaska in a variety of positions and is currently a private contractor. Myers is the other industry representative.
Dr. Jacqueline Richter-Menge, of Lyme, New Hampshire, an expert in Arctic sea ice, is serving a second term as a research representative, as she was previously appointed to the USARC in 2016, by President Obama.
Deborah Vo, of Anchorage, a program officer at the Rasmuson Foundation and a former special assistant for rural affairs to Senator Lisa Murkowski, is the commission’s new Indigenous representative.
A vacancy exists for a representative from the research community, as former commissioner Major General Randy “Church” Kee, USAF (ret.) resigned, effective Sept. 10, 2021, to accept the federal position of Senior Advisor, Arctic Security Affairs, in the U.S. Department of Defense. He will assist with establishing the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, the DoD’s sixth and newest regional center.
USARC is an independent federal agency created by the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 with presidentially appointed members supported by staff in Washington, D.C., and Anchorage.
It delivers a biennial report to the president and Congress outlining recommended scientific research goals and objectives for the Arctic and develops and recommends an integrated national Arctic research policy and builds cooperative links to Arctic research within the federal government, the State of Alaska and with international partners.
- Petroleum News