FORMER COAST GUARD CHIEF TAPPED AS US ARCTIC DIPLOMAT

Washington Times on July 16, 2014, published an AP report that a retired Coast Guard admiral was named as the first U.S. special representative for Arctic issues, overseeing American policy in the icy region that is becoming a global focus for economic opportunities and security concerns. Excerpts below:

In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said retired Adm. Robert J. Papp has broad foreign policy experience and a “passion” for the Arctic that makes him the ideal diplomat to advance U.S. interests in the region.

The U.S. next year will chair the Arctic Council, which is made up of eight nations that reach into the Arctic Circle…The U.S. touches the Arctic Circle in Alaska, and that state’s two U.S. senators have long pressed the Obama administration to name a permanent envoy to the region.

U.S. officials estimate the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits. Until recently, however, the resources that could reap hundreds of billions of dollars in revenues were frozen over and unreachable.

Kerry also named Alaska’s former lieutenant governor, Fran Ulmer, as a special adviser on Arctic science and policy. Ulmer has chaired the U.S. Arctic Research Commission during the Obama administration.

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