Murkowski: White House’s Arctic Focus Remains “Unbalanced”

Senator: We Cannot Study Ourselves into Inaction

Senator Lisa Murkowski today responded to the White House’s latest Executive Order, “Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic,” (attached) with the United States only months away from assuming the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council:

“Today’s Executive Order is a good step forward in strengthening the coordination of federal agencies on Arctic policy – and seeks direct input from Alaska’s Arctic stakeholders – but it is unbalanced in what the Administration’s Arctic priorities should be.  Once again, the President remains focused on climate change.  I agree that climate change is an issue facing our nation and my state, but for President Obama and many of his ideological allies, the plan for the Arctic boils down to two words: Hands Off.

“What this memo fails to acknowledge are the needs and opportunities of the indigenous people of the Arctic, who have subsisted in the region for centuries – and that we have the opportunity to improve the lives of the people that live there, while respecting the time honored traditions of our Inuit, Aleut and Athabaskan communities.  Science-based decision making is essential as we move forward, but we cannot ‘study’ ourselves into inaction.  Investment and vision are needed – in infrastructure, ice breakers, and a predictable federal oil and gas permitting process – to craft an Arctic economy.

“Though I appreciate the President’s recognition of the importance of consultation with the State of Alaska, and Alaska Natives, I fear Alaskan voices will not be adequately considered in Washington. We are dealing with a past and present where DC-based groups push to lock up our lands and oceans in parks and sanctuaries, and we have had enough.”