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Murkowski Speaks to Subcommittee on Arctic Investments

US Senator Lisa Murkowski met with a subcommittee Tuesday to discuss the importance of funding Arctic investments. 

Senator Murkowski met with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security in Washington, DC.  Murkowski wants to focus on Arctic issues such as maritime commerce, natural resource development, Coast Guard search and rescue and icebreakers. 

“We have the availability for a level of commerce that was only imagined by explorers. It’s a level of commerce that is bringing container ships across from Russia and China. It’s very engaged in the arctic. We are seeing cruise ships coming through the Northwest Passage. We are seeing a level on maritime commerce that has really accelerated.”

Murkowski is pushing for the Fiscal Year 2015 Homeland Security funding bill to make appropriations for the Arctic commerce.  She says 20% of the world’s known oil reserves are in the Arctic and although it’s still too dangerous to reach those resources, funding should be provided for research and development.

“I think it’s important for us to recognize that as an arctic nation, we have a role. And that role comes with search and rescue, as provided by the Coast Guard. That role comes in the event with some kind of environmental disaster-- we need to be leading as an Arctic nation, not sitting back. Next year the US will assume the chair of the Arctic Council. The rest of the world is going to be looking to see how America leads as an arctic nation. And right now they are sitting back and scratching their heads going ‘what are they doing?’”

Murkowski says the committee needs to work on funding for Arctic development before any issues occur, rather than in response to issues.  Subcommittee Chairwoman Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana says she will work to set up a subcommittee hearing in the fall to discuss Arctic investment.