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Parnell signs resolution opposing Beringia park

August 15, 2014

NOME, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Sean Parnell has signed a legislative resolution protesting the development of an international park that some in Alaska feel could limit development of remote northwest Alaska.

The federal project, envisioned as a joint U.S.-Russian research park in the Bering Strait, is already on hold because of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

Senate Joint Resolution 15 urges the federal government to stop pursuing the creation of a park that would reach from Alaska into Russia, KNOM-radio (http://bit.ly/1t347br) reported.

“This is a park that has been going forward quietly over the years. It sounds like such a laudable goal,” said the resolution sponsor, state Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage. “My concern however is it’s a United Nations designation that could affect the use of our natural resources.”

Giessel does not want international bodies dictating how Alaskans use their land, she said. And she noted the federal government has blocked a road through Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, a migratory birds wetlands, even though locals want the road to improve access between the village of King Cove and an airport at Cold Bay.

The National Park Service in February sent a letter noting what it called factual errors and mistaken assumptions in Giessel’s resolution. The agency disputed that Alaska and the U.S. Congress were not given the chance to comment.

The Beringia memorandum of understanding spells out that it’s not an international agreement and does not create rights or obligations under international law, according to the agency.

Much of the environmental and cultural research that could support an eventual shared park will continue, NPS spokesman John Quinley said.


Information from: KNOM-AM, http://www.knom.org

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