Murkowski Questions Interior Secretary on Arctic Commitment

Senator: Funding Levels for Arctic Concerns Indicate Prioritization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) responsible for advancing five key aspects of the nation’s Arctic agenda, Senator Lisa Murkowski today questioned the Interior Secretary about how much attention – and funding – the administration is giving its Arctic plans, as nations around the world are investing billions in the region.  The administration’s recent Arctic Implementation Plan identified the DOI as tasked with overseeing development of non-renewable energy resources, integrated Arctic management implementation, terrestrial ecosystem climate change research, wildland fires in the Arctic, and invasive species studies.

In testimony before the Appropriations Committee discussing the DOI’s 2015 budget and priorities, Murkowski asked Secretary Jewell what levels the government is investing in its National Arctic Strategy, saying “I’m trying to divine what sort of attention the administration is giving its Arctic Implementation Plan.”


(Murkowski Presses Interior Secretary for answers on Arctic prioritization – Click to watch)

Though Secretary Jewell admitted she was unable to provide numbers and figures to Murkowski, she responded that “From a scientific and research standpoint, from a national defense standpoint, from an oil and gas development standpoint, and a geopolitical standpoint, we think it’s very important that we be at the table.”  Jewell also added that she believes the nation should be fully engaged with the international community moving forward, as well, citing the Arctic Council chairmanship the U.S. will assume beginning next year.