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White House Establishes Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area Through Executive Order

President Barack Obama has signed an executive order to establish the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area in an effort to protect the natural and cultural resources as well as the communities in the Alaskan Arctic.

The executive order will create a task force that will work with a Bering intergovernmental tribal advisory council to coordinate federal programs designed to advance community and ecosystem resilience, safeguard cultural values and promote natural resources conservation in support of Alaskan native communities, the White House said in a news release published Friday.

The rule would establish a federal policy that would prohibit bottom trawling operations and require the U.S. Coast Guard to consider recommendations on “areas to be avoided” as part of the port access route study.

Obama also orders the Coast Guard to release its PARS findings by the end of 2016 and relay its conclusions to the International Maritime Organization to facilitate the development of new measures by 2018.

The executive order also covers the withdrawal from future oil and gas leasing of 40,300 square miles of the Norton Basin planning area and some parts of the St. Matthew-Hall planning area.

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