Governor Sean Parnell and Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski renewed the Alaska-Yukon Intergovernmental Relations Accord. The leaders met today in Vancouver.
The accord underscores the importance of the working relationship between Alaska and Yukon. Both sides pledge to work together to promote mutually beneficial job training, energy production and economic development.
"Alaska and Yukon share a long and unique history of working together on broad-ranging issues like tourism marketing and wildfire management," Governor Parnell said. "Alaskans and Yukoners benefit from this link in many sectors. There is significant potential in our economic region to reduce the costs of energy for residents as well as provide energy for the development of our natural resources. We will continue to work with Yukon to review the ways we can accomplish this."
"Resource development, expansion of energy options, improvement and maintenance of roads, and the need for jobs, particularly for our youth and rural residents, are issues that Yukon and Alaska share, along with our 1,200-kilometre-long border. By working together on these issues, we will achieve results that will benefit Yukoners and Alaskans, as we have already on the Shakwak Project, a partnership which has resulted in significant improvements to the highways that link northerners on both sides of our border," Premier Pasloski said. "I welcome the opportunity to renew this international accord that highlights the importance of partnership for our respective regions and countries."
Both leaders agreed that the initial focus moving forward will be on mining and energy. Alaska and Yukon have seen exploration and development of several significant mines in the last five years. Approximately $600 million was spent on mining exploration in Alaska and Yukon in 2011.
"This accord underscores how we can work together to plan for growth needs in energy, infrastructure, and mine training as deposits are discovered and mines move through permitting stages toward production," Commissioner Susan Bell of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development said.
The University of Alaska and Yukon College will continue their partnership in developing a shared underground and surface mine training program that meets industry standards in both countries. Representatives from both institutions will meet this summer to discuss how to integrate Alaska's premier mine training simulator at the University of Alaska Southeast campus and Yukon College's successful industry-focused training program.
Governor Parnell also met with British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and with the Consul General of Canada, Denis Stevens.