Gov. Dunleavy says development, cooperation are key for Alaska growth

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 22:02

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy believes a cooperative spirit and new resource development can help usher in a new era of prosperity.

“I believe we’re going to grow this state,” Dunleavy said during a Wednesday meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

The governor said he believes the state still has a bright future that will be based on broad use of its abundant natural resources. He said new mining and timber opportunities — along with potential new oil and gas opportunities and even the likelihood of increased Arctic exploration — mean the state is poised for growth.

Dunleavy said Alaska has a track record of developing its resources responsibly and argued that environmentalists should want resource development to take place here rather than other parts of the world with less stringent environmental oversight.

“If you truly care about the environment I think you’ll want it done here where we’re watching it,” he said to a packed house inside the Matanuska Brewing Company in downtown Eagle River.

Dunleavy said he’s planning a visit to Washington, DC., where he’ll again meet with President Donald Trump. In his last meeting with the president, Dunleavy said Trump was bullish on the state due in part to its large and mostly untapped reserves of rare earth minerals — of which 97% of the world’s supply currently comes from China.

“He wants to bring that home to America,” Dunleavy said.

Dunleavy also pointed to the Arctic as a potential source of growth. He said Trump shares his view that the impact of melting sea ice is something that needs to be studied further.

“Generally speaking, it’s warming in the Arctic and ice is retreating and the president sees that,” he said.

Dunleavy said that could mean possible new growth in the state or even a potential Navy base in the Last Frontier.

Closer to home, Dunleavy said he thinks Alaska residents can solve many of their problems through cooperation. Though the state has spent more than $14 billion in savings in recent years and continues to grapple with large budget deficits and cuts, Dunleavy said he’s excited about the potential for Alaskans to come together and solve the near-term fiscal issues facing the state.

“If Alaskans are prepared to give a little they’ll get a lot,” he said.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 257-4274.

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