Murkowski: U.S. Lags in Arctic Activity

IN FLIGHT - APRIL 21: A tug tows an iceberg to safer waters and away from a possible collision with an oil-drilling platform off the coast of Newfoundland April 21, 2003 in the north Atlantic Ocean. The berg, approximately five times as wide as a football field, 20 yards above the waterline and 60 yards below with an estimated weight of 20 million tons was towed by a four-inch rope that is three quarters of a mile long. The tug was harnessed to the iceberg after the International Ice Patrol found and charted the location of the berg. The patrol, organized by the U.S. Coast Guard and supported by 18 nations, has searched the waters since the year following the Titanic disaster.  (National Journal)

Sen. Lisa Murkowsk wants the United States to step up investment in Arctic exploration, the Associated Press reports.

A number of other nations, including Russia, Norway, Finland, and Canada are also vying for a stake in the vast resources contained in Arctic territory, which is estimated to hold up to 30 percent of yet-to-be-extracted global natural-gas reserves. Proponents of expanded arctic activity say the U.S. is lagging in efforts to explore and extract these reserves and the region's untapped oil stores.

"On par with the other Arctic nations, we are behind — behind in our thinking, behind in our vision," said Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska. "We lack basic infrastructure, basic funding commitments to be prepared for the level of activity expected in the Arctic."

To better position the U.S. to assume a leading position in the region, Murkowski has urged Secretary of State John Kerry to appoint a coordinating official to oversee work by various federal agencies relating to Arctic research and exploration.