Comment Letter on Port of Alaska Improvements to Assistant Secretary Connor


March 10, 2022

Submitted electronically to: [email protected]

Mr. Michael Connor
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Office of the Under Secretary of the Army
United States Department of the Army
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310

Re: Port of Alaska Improvements

Dear Assistant Secretary Connor:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to raise attention for much needed improvements to the Port of Alaska (POA), called the Port of Alaska Modernization Program (PAMP), located in Anchorage, Alaska.

RDC is a statewide trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, tourism forestry, mining, and oil and gas industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

The POA is the state’s primary port through which more than 75% of all non-petroleum cargo is shipped to the rest of this state’s population. These critical retail and non-retail supplies enter through the POA and are then distributed throughout the state to reach 90% of Alaska’s population. In addition, the POA serves as strategic defense location and is designated as one of seventeen “commercial strategic ports” in the nation. In 2018, a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck southcentral Alaska just ten miles north of the POA resulting in a natural disaster declaration. The POA sustained damage from this event threatened the stability of the POA’s infrastructure. The earthquake, coupled with long term aging of a port built in 1961, including corrosion of its pilings, has created a heightened awareness that timely upgrades are more important than ever. A robust and efficient port is key to the timely delivery of goods and supplies to our members.

RDC understands the Municipality of Anchorage, who owns and operates the POA, is in the process of submitting an application to support necessary upgrades as part of the PAMP to ensure the continued operation of the POA. RDC encourages your agency to work swiftly through a responsible permitting process, including a fast-track process if available, before another natural disaster threatens the POA’s continued operation.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.