Senator: Urgency and Action Needed in Arctic, Clarity Sought About Position
Three days after Senator Lisa Murkowski expressed criticism of the Obama administration's lack of thoughtful, active engagement in the Arctic - through her letter to the President about his 'Implementation Plan' - Secretary of State John Kerry sent her a letter (attached) informing her of his plans to announce a 'Special Representative for the Arctic Region.'
Today's letter from Secretary Kerry follows a series of discussions between Senator Murkowski and Vice President Joe Biden on this matter, where Biden told the Senator that actions were underway within the administration to step up American efforts in the Arctic. Senator Murkowski visited with Secretary Kerry before Thanksgiving, where she reiterated her call that he name a U.S. ambassador to the Arctic that could oversee and coordinate Arctic efforts across numerous federal agencies and departments.
"The White House's lackluster efforts to seize the opportunities opening up in the Arctic have been a national embarrassment to this point. The other Arctic nations are proceeding full steam ahead and even non-Arctic nations like Italy, India, China and South Korea are all making an Arctic push - while America slips further behind," said Murkowski. "Though I welcome the administration paying more attention and devoting more energy to an Arctic agenda, I question whether or not the title 'Special Representative' is on par with an Ambassador, a position I've consistently recommended. 7 of the 8 Arctic nations have an Arctic Ambassador, and I'm not sure we are there yet. This position demands a high level official with expertise and Arctic knowledge in order to be on par with the international community and I seek clarity from Secretary Kerry on this."
In light of today's news Senator Murkowski plans to upgrade and intensify her work to remind Congress that the United States is an Arctic nation.
This document was issued by Lisa Murkowski and was initially posted at www.murkowski.senate.gov. It was distributed, unedited and unaltered, by noodls on 2014-02-15 01:28:35. The original document issuer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.