With the goal of addressing a broad topic – doubling Alaska’s gross domestic product over the next 10 years – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke met with the Alaska Federation of Natives board of directors and the Alaska Congressional delegation June 1 at the Fireweed Business Center, CIRI’s corporate headquarters in Anchorage.
Zinke’s proposed strategy includes revitalizing the state’s oil industry and otherwise encouraging development of natural resources, including bolstering development on the North Slope, building out telecom to meet national security needs and encouraging foreign investment in Alaska. He advocates the removal of barriers for Alaska Native people to develop Native-owned lands, tax reforms that benefit Alaska Native and American Indian people and policies that give Alaska Native corporations contracting preference.
“It was a great honor hosting Secretary Zinke, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Congressman Don Young and many Alaska Native leaders at the Fireweed Business Center,” said CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich. “It’s a testament to the Secretary that he sees creating opportunities for Alaska Native people as a way to pull the state out of its recession.”
Zinke is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL who has spent time on the Aleutian islands of Adak and Shemya. His wife has also spent time in Alaska, having once worked at the Lucky Wishbone restaurant in Anchorage. Zinke was offered the position of U.S. Secretary of the Interior by then-President-elect Donald Trump on Dec. 13, 2016; he was later confirmed by a Senate vote and sworn in March 1. In his role, Zinke leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees who are stewards for 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other public lands. The department is charged with overseeing the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 567 federally-recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
For more information on the U.S. Department of the Interior, visit www.doi.gov.