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.