In response to the release of the Department of Interior report Managing for the Future in a Rapidly Changing Arctic, U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement:
Alaska is the only reason America is an Arctic nation and the changes underway there have captured the attention of the highest levels of our federal government. This new report to the President details the enormous opportunities and challenges in America's Arctic. It notes that responsible development can take place in America's Arctic if properly managed.
I commend Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes on coordinating a comprehensive look at the potential in America's Arctic and for his achievements as chairman of the Interagency Working Group. The group is coordinating the federal review of Arctic development and as a result, successful oil and gas exploration is underway.
The report calls for better U.S. coordination of research and development in the Arctic, especially as America takes over chairmanship of the Arctic Council in two years. I believe that's best done through an American Arctic Ambassador, which I've proposed every year I've been in the Senate. Other Arctic nations have Arctic ambassadors -- it's time the U.S. State Department gets over its bureaucratic objections to this essential position.
I recommend this report as required reading to all members of Congress, many of whom fail to appreciate Alaska's enormous importance in making critical decisions about the Arctic. These decisions will have long-lasting impacts on our entire world.