Murkowski: America “Waking Up” To the Fact We’re An Arctic Nation

Senator Stresses Opportunities Opening Up in the North

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski today took to the Senate floor and stressed to her colleagues the importance of the Arctic, and how the national political conversation should reflect the realities and possibilities that come along with that.  “I am pleased that ever so slowly, the United States seems to be waking up to the fact that we are, indeed, an Arctic nation,” Sen. Murkowski said.

Sen. Murkowski returned earlier this month from a historic trip to Nuuk, Greenland where she participated in the 7th Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council – the first ever to be attended by a member of Congress and Secretary of State.  Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and Sen. Murkowski met with foreign ministers from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Russian Federation and representatives of indigenous groups to discuss a variety of Arctic issues.

In her floor speech, Murkowski pointed to the international progress being made in offshore development, saying “While we struggle moving ahead with off-shore development in Alaskan waters, our neighbors are rapidly moving forward on Arctic energy development.”
The Senator also pressed her colleagues to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, reminding them America is the only Arctic country that hasn’t signed on — and the costs of such hesitancy when it comes to resource development. “If the United States were to become a party to the Treaty,” she said “we could lay claim to an area in the Arctic of about 450,000 square kilometers-or approximately the size of California.”