Sen. Murkowski Continues Putting Alaska in Prime Position for Arctic Opportunities

Sen. Murkowski Continues Putting Alaska in Prime Position for Arctic Opportunities

May 28, 2019

When U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke recently at the Arctic Council Ministerial in Finland, she highlighted some of the rationale behind establishing Alaska as a key player in the emerging Arctic economic zone.

Speaking of Alaska, she stated, “It’s not just a place of resource opportunity. It’s not just this place where we’re going to go and have at it over sea routes,” she said. “It is a place that involves people, and so let’s make sure that they are always, always part of this dialogue and this discussion.”

As far as national security goes, Murkowski also sees Alaska as a key locale. She was somewhat frustrated that the Arctic Council didn’t address national security, noting in an article published in Arctic Today:

There are other international venues to discuss national security, but few places exist to discuss the wide range of increasingly complicated issues in the Arctic.

“With each successive council, the issues become more challenging,” she said. “The North and the world up there is changing. And so how we’re able to adapt to that is important.”

These discussions are even more complicated when national defense enters the conversation.

“There’s a lot that we have to do,” Murkowski said. “And as soon as the conversation about national security comes in, it literally sucks the air out of the room for everything else.”

Yet Murkowski acknowledged the growing concern from some U.S. officials about security issues in the region. She said Pompeo’s remarks prompted an “important conversation” about the defense interests of countries in the region, as well as the question of what role the Arctic Council will take in that conversation. “Because it is something that we cannot avoid,” she said.

Alaska holds an extensive amount of promise for US energy, mineral and economic development. Understanding that there is a vast amount of competition in the Arctic between nations is key to unlocking government support for those Alaska-based opportunities. Power The Future thanks Senator Murkowski for her leadership in these areas, and also encourages her and her Congressional colleagues to keep pressing forward on these opportunities. Responsible resource development in Alaska equals jobs and better ways of life for thousands of Alaskans.