WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today praised President Bush’s signing of a new Presidential Directive on the Arctic that calls for enhanced security, increased environmental protection, sustainable energy development, international scientific cooperation and greater involvement of indigenous people.


The revised U.S. Arctic Policy has been in development for more than a year among key cabinet-level agencies, including the departments of State and Homeland Security and the National Security Council, members of the scientific and academic communities as well as stakeholders in Alaska.


Among its key recommendations, the revised policy calls on the United States Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention. Ratification would allow America to make a claim to extend its continental shelf, thus providing greater sovereignty over natural resources beyond the current boundary.


Murkowski was the lone member of Congress to actively participate in the process and today released the following statement:


“The United States Arctic Policy has not been updated since 1994, and the Arctic is vastly different today than it was 15 years ago.  Dramatic changes are occurring in the Arctic and this new policy takes into account those significant developments. I support the new Arctic Policy and congratulate the Administration for its work on the issue.  This is a significant step forward for the nation and sends a message to the world that the Arctic is important to the United States and we stand ready to work cooperatively with the international community in this vital region.


“Few areas in the world have experienced such rapid change and the new Arctic Policy gives the United States an opportunity to be an active participant and leader in this vital region. The updated Arctic Policy gives us a good roadmap in which to take the next step, but I call on Congress, our President-elect and the Federal Government to work together to implement this policy and give the Arctic the attention it deserves.”