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Protecting Our Interests in the Arctic

Today, the Obama Administration released a National Strategy for the Arctic Region that outlines our Nation’s priorities over the next 10 years. The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan will play an important role in achieving those priorities by better leveraging Federal resources, streamlining decision-making, and encouraging collaboration among Federal agencies, states, and marine stakeholders on ocean issues.

Today, the Obama Administration released the National Strategy for the Arctic Region that outlines our Nation’s priorities in the rapidly changing area over the next 10 years.  The Strategy unifies Federal efforts across these broad goals: advancing U.S. security interests, pursuing responsible Arctic region stewardship, and strengthening international cooperation. The United States is an Arctic nation. As new challenges and opportunities emerge in the region as the result of a changing climate, this strategy builds on the significant work that has already been done by Federal agencies, the State of Alaska, and area Tribes over the past years and decades. 

One of the many building blocks of the Arctic Strategy is the Administration’s recently released National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan.  The Implementation Plan translates the Administration’s National Ocean Policy into on-the-ground actions to better leverage Federal resources, streamline decision-making, and encourage collaboration among Federal agencies, states and marine stakeholders on ocean issues. A key focus of the Implementation Plan is the Arctic.  Federal agencies are targeting their work in the Arctic on monitoring the impacts of changing conditions, developing better mapping and charting to aid in safe navigation, improving Arctic sea-ice forecasting, and coordinating readiness for environmental incident response – all actions that support the priorities of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. 

The United States has broad interests in the Arctic, from national security to energy development, commerce, environmental protection, scientific research, and preservation of a rich cultural heritage.  All of these interests must be addressed in the context of dramatic changes to the environment and accessibility of the region. Through better Federal coordination, improved access to science and information, and more efficient decision-making, the National Ocean Policy will help achieve the priorities laid out in the Arctic Strategy.  I look forward to the National Ocean Council’s continued contribution to this effort, for the benefit of all Americans.

To read the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, click here.

Nancy Sutley is Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality