Seattle — Seattle voters will be able to travel to Bering Sea after Gov.
Jay Inslee announced Friday he has lifted his travel advisory for the region.
The governor said he would take a trip to the Bering Straits region, the Baffin Island archipelago and the southern Beaufort Sea to “discuss the impact of climate change on our region and its people.”
The travel advisory will be lifted on March 17, a day before the State of Alaska celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Bering Sea is the second-largest body of water in the world, after the Arctic Ocean.
It lies about 500 miles south of Anchorage and is considered a “tipping point” in the climate change debate.
The state’s top climate scientist, John Nielsen-Gammon, said Friday that it was a “game changer” that would “change how people live in the region.”
As of Thursday, Anchorage and the city of Fairbanks had banned all travel to the strait from March 18 through March 20.
The city of Pascagoula in Mississippi also has banned all non-essential travel.
If Seattle stays in place, Anchorage residents who plan to go there will have to leave town before March 20, said Pascagena resident Mark DeBoe.
“This would be devastating,” DeBue told KIRO-TV.
“We could be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in business.
We’re losing people we work with to be able do things like this.”
Baffin island is the largest archipelagic island in the North Atlantic and the most important refuge in the American Northwest.
A new study published in the journal Nature Communications estimates the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from the Bessarabia Strait is equal to about 40 percent of the entire annual global emissions.
DeBue said that while he was hopeful there would be enough support for the trip, the likelihood of a large influx of residents was low.
“If the numbers are right, we’ll probably get some folks,” he said.
“But I don’t know how many.”