the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Touring the Arctic

This week I have joined other Administration officials for an Arctic Observance tour to learn more about how climate change is affecting the Arctic region.  We left Washington, DC early Monday morning with our team, which includes Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen, Deputy Assistant to the President on Energy and Climate Change Heather Zichal, and DOI Deputy Secretary David Hayes, and received a detailed briefing about the specifics of our trip to Alaska and what to expect in the coming days. 
Upon our arrival in Nome, we were greeted by local officials, citizens and members of our armed forces. Immediately following, we met with local scientists on coastal erosion affecting the region.
Today we flew to Fairbanks and went to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, for presentations on the diversity of the Arctic Ocean and how climate change is impacting the region. Later today we will travel to the Permafrost Tunnel, a unique research facility that allows scientists to study the composition and behavior of ice structures and frozen bioorganics dating over 40,000 years old! Over the next three days we will continue our journey andmeet with local leaders, citizens and scientists who will share their knowledge on these issues.

Our outreach in Alaska will culminate on Friday August 21st with the first in a series of Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meetings in Anchorage.  The President has charged the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, implementation options, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. These public forums are a key component to establishing a comprehensive ocean policy.
You can find more information on the Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting in Anchorage here.
You can also follow the Coast Guard’s blog, photos, Twitters, Facebook, and YouTube videos about our trip.

Nancy Sutley is the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.