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Friday, January 20, 2012

Nome Oil Delivery Highlights Region’s Infrastructure Problems

In a photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, two hose lines run from the Russian tanker Renda in Nome, Alaska. (AP)

Is Alaska ready for the 21st century? Alaska’s two congressmen say its infrastructure is aging and is not equipped to deal with future growth and development.

Canada and Russia are planning new harbors or expanding existing ones. And the ice cap is melting, opening the region to shipping in the summertime.

Margaret Kriz Hobson, reporter for the online environment and energy newsletter Greenwire told Here & Now‘s Robin Young that part of the problem is that the Coast Guard doesn’t have enough resources.

“Right now they have one ice breaker…we have very few resources up in the Arctic area. With more traffic coming in, we are in a bad spot,” she said.

Hobson is referencing the fact that global climate change has caused ice to melt, freeing up waterways, and increasing boat traffic in the summer– increasing the need for a better infrastructure, with more ports.

Hobson says this raises concerns about the environmental and for the native communities, which are very small and would have a hard time handling an inundation of visitors if more ports were created.


  • Margaret Kriz Hobson, reporter for the online environment and energy newsletter Greenwire

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