The Arctic and Stevens’ stance on the issues (Nov. 2014)

“Resource development is vital to Alaska’s future economy and to the nation, the senator said, and the state is dedicated to keeping development in line with the protection of Alaska’s natural beauty” – taken from a 1974 Stevens press release regarding a proposed consumer protection bill.

Senator Stevens always had an interest in regulations and decisions concerning the arctic because those decisions could deeply affect Alaska. There is much evidence in the Ted Stevens Papers that shows his involvement and concern for the arctic. Stevens was a cosponsor of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984, which created the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This Commission produces the semiannual journal Arctic Research of the United States, several of which are in the Stevens Papers. Also in the collection are earlier documents that show Stevens’ involvement in Arctic policy, such as those relating to the Prudhoe Bay oil discovery, the Naval Arctic Research Lab and clean up issues, the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, the International Whaling Commission, and fisheries.

One topic of particular interest to UAF is the beginnings of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC), which was established in 1999. This accomplishment was the result of cooperation between the U.S. and Japanese governments, as shown by the correspondence and documents in the Stevens collection. The first Director of IARC, Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu consulted with Stevens regarding IARC, the Geophysical Institute, and other scientific issues and the two became friends.

In 2004 Stevens received the Robert O. Anderson Sustainable Arctic Award from the Institute of the North. Institute founder and former Governor Walter Hickel remarked that Stevens’ work “to provide infrastructure while understanding the uniqueness of the Arctic will be one of his greatest accomplishments” and so it has.

Be sure to visit our document and photo gallery “The Arctic”.