U.S. Sen. Mark Begich welcomed today's announcement that President Obama has appointed Dave Benton of Juneau to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. The Commission, established in 1984, is charged with developing an integrated national Arctic research policy and program, and to facilitate cooperation among the federal government, state and local governments, and other nations with respect to basic and applied Arctic research.
"Dave Benton brings years of experience in both the public and private sectors, and as chair of the North Pacific Research Board," said Begich, who recommended Benton to the White House. "We look to the Arctic Research Commission to guide the scientific efforts needed to understand the change underway in the Arctic and ensure future development is compatible with its ecosystems and the subsistence needs of its residents. Dave brings a wide and varied perspective as we look to address research needs in the rapidly changing Arctic."
Benton is a former Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who represented the state in negotiations to end high seas salmon interception in the North Pacific and overfishing in the Central Bering Sea. He served as chairman of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council and North Pacific Research Board. Benton later worked as Executive Director of the Marine Conservation Alliance, a coalition of fishermen, processors, and communities involved in Alaska's groundfish and shellfish fisheries. He currently works as a self-employed marine resource consultant and is restoring the Point Retreat lighthouse near Juneau.
Benton fills a seat for private industry previously held by Michele Longo Eder of Newport, Oregon. The 7-member commission is chaired by former Alaska Lieutenant Governor and University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Fran Ulmer. The terms are for four years.