About the Working Group
The Congressional Arctic Working Group seeks to help members of Congress better understand the opportunities and challenges for the U.S. as an Arctic Nation and acts as a resource for other Arctic countries to interact with Congress.
The working group brings people together from across the native, environmental, oil and gas, mining, national security, and navigation communities to advise Congress about the exciting and potentially hazardous way forward on Arctic policy.
The working group also is committed to advancing the strong international cooperation already happening in the Arctic, particularly as the U.S. takes over the Arctic Council chair in 2015.
Why the Arctic Matters
The United States is one of eight Arctic nations. Our country has about a 700-mile border with the Arctic Ocean and more than 100 million acres of land above the Arctic Circle. Climate change is breaking up the Arctic ice pack, which has enormous economic, environmental, and security consequences for the U.S. and for the world.
Melting ice means the Arctic is a more widely-used shipping channel, which requires a better understanding of the region’s geography and stronger infrastructure, like icebreakers, to ensure safe passage.
A changing climate also means more resource development exploration, and these initiatives demand expertise and careful planning.
The unique environment in the Arctic is home to hundreds of species of fish, mammals and birds. Careful stewardship of these animals, and the lands and waters where they live, will keep the Arctic healthy.
Other countries are actively exploring the Arctic to learn more about how to ship, drill in and traverse these icy waters while our Arctic assets continue to age.
The Arctic Working Group will help Congress learn more about and take action to establish a strong Arctic presence, as well as continue to engage well with other Arctic nations.