Alaska is America’s largest state, at 663,268 square miles. Yet it ranks 47th in population, which is around 735,132 people according to the last available census. It is rich in natural resources, fossil fuels, and wildlife. It truly is the “Last Frontier” of America; a place where hard work, discipline and opportunity combine to offer substantial rewards to those brave enough and determined enough to seek them out. As an arctic environment, it has some special characteristics and needs. As Senator Lisa Murkowski explains in her latest newsletter, this environment needs some special representation:
On February 14, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States would soon name a Special Representative for the Arctic Region. While I am encouraged that in his announcement Secretary Kerry recognized the need to make the Arctic a higher U.S. priority and to elevate our attention and efforts in the region, it is not clear to me what the position’s scope of authority, both within the State Department and amongst the international community, will be. It is also important to recognize that merely naming a representative is not enough. We must also commit resources to the region to obtain the benefits, and address the challenges, that come from being an Arctic Nation.