Murkowski, Manchin, King Highlight Urgent Need for Greater U.S. Leadership in the Arctic

Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Ranking Member Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., yesterday convened a roundtable with domestic and international dignitaries and policy leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the Arctic region. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, the co-founder of the Senate Arctic Caucus along with Murkowski, also attended the event. 

The roundtable focused on the Arctic’s economy, security, resource development, infrastructure, and changing climate. Participants emphasized the urgent need for the United States to step up and take a stronger leadership position as an Arctic nation, and highlighted ways Arctic nations can better coordinate and work together to ensure a more resilient future in the High North. 

Arctic Roundtable

Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin kick off Arctic roundtable.
(Click photo for archived video of the roundtable discussion)

“The United States is an Arctic nation because of my home state of Alaska. While we focus a lot on our southern border, we also must place a high priority on our northern border. Four million people live in the Arctic and are impacted more by the global changes that we are seeing every day, which is why the need for U.S. leadership in the region cannot be understated,” Murkowski said. “Whether it’s helping communities that are in peril because of coastal erosion or impact from increased shipping in the region, these discussions are important. They help us develop ways for Arctic nations to partner, take a more active role to educate political leaders and our youth about the growing needs of the region, and encourage investments in development, infrastructure, and innovation to help create a more resilient, sustainable Arctic region for future generations.”

“We must be proactive in how we approach the challenges and opportunities in the Arctic. This includes expanding trade relationships, increasing economic development and strengthening geopolitical alliances that benefit our national security while integrating policies that will make our nation more resilient to the ongoing challenges associated with extreme weather and climate change. While Alaska faces the most direct consequences of our Arctic policies, the implications of these policies impact every state including West Virginia. I appreciate Chairman Murkowski’s leadership on this important topic and I look forward to working with her in my new role as ranking member to find ways we can deliver much needed wins for communities in West Virginia, Alaska and across the United States,” Manchin said.

Roundtable participants included:

  • Her Excellency Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States;
  • His Excellency Henrik Bramsen Hahn, Chargé d’Affairs a.i. Ambassador of Denmark to the United States;
  • Mr. Inuuteq Holm Olsen, Minister Plenipotentiary and Head of Representation for Greenland in the Danish Embassy;
  • Ms. Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic; and Director, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies;
  • Ms. Victoria Herrmann, President and Managing Director, The Arctic Institute;
  • Ms. Stephanie Pezard, Senior Political Scientist, RAND Corporation; and
  • Mr. Mike Sfraga, Co-Director, UArctic Institute for Arctic Policy.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Manchin is the committee’s ranking member. An archived video of the Arctic roundtable discussion is available on the committee’s website.

Related Issues: Energy, Arctic