Murkowski on Senate Floor: The Arctic is the Place to Be

Senator Admonishes “Unprecedented” Opportunities Should Not Be Squandered

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Lisa Murkowski today laid out her vision of an Arctic future for America as an Arctic nation on the floor of the United States Senate, citing the wide range of opportunities presented as sea ice recedes and opens up new tourism, resource development and shipping possibilities.

Having just returned from the Arctic Council Ministerial Meetings in Kiruna, Sweden with the American delegation, Murkowski’s speech carried an optimistic tone, but she shared her concerns that America is not sufficiently investing in its Arctic future.  While federal American investment in the region is stunted by lack of Arctic momentum – a drawback overcome by Murkowski’s amendment to the recent WRDA bill inviting innovative partnerships for deep draft ports in Alaska – the Arctic Council voted to allow India, Italy, South Korea, China, Singapore and Japan as “observers” because they see the value of the Arctic.

(Senator Murkowski presses colleagues to seize Arctic opportunities – CLICK image to watch)

Key excerpts:

  • (10:41) “The work of the Arctic Council focuses on collaboration and cooperation in an area that is a zone of peace, as many would suggest. This is an important opportunity for us from a diplomacy perspective. Think about how many hot spots we have in the world, how many parts of this planet where we are trying to put out fires that have been simmering or smoldering for decades, for generations – for some millennia. If we’ve got a part of the world where we can be working together, what kind of a message, what kind of a symbol, does that really represent? So we’ve got some enormous opportunities within the Arctic.” (11:35)
  • (13:56) “It was interesting to note the recognition of six nations to join as observers – China, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Now, no one would ever suggest that these are Arctic nations, but the reason why they want to be engaged as observers is they recognize the importance of the Arctic to the rest of the globe. They recognize the importance, whether from a shipping perspective, whether from an environmental perspective, whether from just an opportunity for resources. There is a keen awareness that what is happening in the Arctic – this is the place to be right now.” (14:52)

# # #