Senator Murkowski Joins Cabinet Secretaries at Arctic Council

First U.S. Senator to Participate in Biennial Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Lisa Murkowski will join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in making history at this week’s Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland – becoming the first U.S. Senator and State Department Head to participate in the event. “Alaska is the reason that America is an Arctic Nation,” said Murkowski, “and I thank Secretary Clinton for the invitation to share my knowledge, experiences and suggestions with the member nations.”

The main focus of this week’s meeting is “Challenges and opportunities for the Arctic Council in a changing Arctic,” but oil and gas development will play a major role, with several member countries interested in – or engaged in – offshore drilling projects. Also at the meeting, members will sign a “Search and Rescue” treaty, pledging to collaborate in the case of a plane crash or other accident in Arctic waters.

“The Arctic is changing and we need to change our policies and thought processes accordingly,” Murkowski added. “Less sea ice means more opportunity – for shipping, for tourism, for development.  The international community must take this moment to listen to Alaska’s motto ‘North to the future’ and move forward intelligently in the Arctic.”

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental association of eight member states with territory inside the Arctic Circle.  It was founded in 1995 and holds Ministerial Meetings every two years at locations in Arctic nations. The 2009 meeting was held in Tromso, Norway.