U.S. Senate advances Arctic efforts at Port Clarence

A map of the Point Spencer allotment shows the BSNC portion in green, the Coast Guard portion in purple, and the State of Alaska portion in checkerboard. (Image: Office of Rep. Don Young, Google)
A map of the Point Spencer allotment shows the BSNC portion in green, the Coast Guard portion in purple, and the State of Alaska portion in checkerboard. (Image: Office of Rep. Don Young, Google)

Port Clarence is one small step closer to serving as the nation’s Arctic deep draft port.

In a press release from Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced the senate passed the Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act. Murkowski said the act would “streamline future infrastructure development and potential uses of Point Spencer.”

Point Spencer is the spit of land that shield’s Port Clarence Bay from the Bering Sea. The natural deep water port is about 120 nautical miles northwest of Nome.

For nearly fifty years, Point Spencer was home to a Coast Guard facility and airstrip. The facility was decommissioned in 2010.

The Land Conveyance Act was originally introduced by Murkowski in May, with support from both Senator Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young. Through land transfers, the act is intended to establish a public-private partnership between Bering Straits Native Corporation and the state of Alaska.

While the Coast Guard will retain their footprint at Point Spencer, the federal government will transfer approximately 2,500 acres of land to local, state, and federal stakeholders.

The act will also establish the Port Coordination Advisory Council for the Port of Point Spencer. According to the legislation, the council will “help coordinate infrastructure development and operations” at the deep-draft port.

The Point Spencer Land Conveyance Act was included in the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which the Senate passed unanimously on Friday.