Arctic For All

The Arctic is one of the last frontiers, home to vast natural resources and an area of emerging geopolitical importance. The United States is an Arctic nation with Alaska anchoring our interests in the region.

Alaska’s critical onshore and offshore energy resources can further strengthen American national security and economic prosperity. We must ensure that energy development proceeds safely under strict western standards for environmental protection.

It’s time to get to work.

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What is the Arctic?

The Arctic is a large region that encompasses the North Pole and its surrounding region, including the northernmost portions of Alaska and Canada. Filled with massive amounts of natural recourses, such as oil, natural gas, and mineral deposits, this frozen frontier is estimated to hold some of the world’s largest remaining untapped oil and natural gas reserves. The largest undiscovered reserve of U.S. domestic energy lies offshore in the Arctic’s seas.

Why is it important?

Isn’t it just a bunch of Caribou, Polar Bears and ice?

The Arctic is not some desolate, uninhabited area like many believe. Rather, more than 4 million people call the Arctic home, including many Alaska Natives who have lived in the northern part of the state for centuries. In the northern part of Alaska, oil and natural gas development in Prudhoe Bay and mining in parts of the North Slope have anchored the local economy for decades, generating revenue and jobs for Alaska Natives. Through consistent engagement with local people and village leaders, job producing natural resource work has successfully coexisted with the lifestyles of Arctic peoples.

More commercial activity in the region is on the horizon. Most notably, companies are eager to explore the vast oil and natural gas resources in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas just off the northern coast of Alaska. Development of these resources could be a boon for the local economy. 

How much energy is in the Arctic?

Offshore, the U.S. federal government estimates that Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) holds 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, more than twice the amount produced at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, which has been supplying the U.S. with a significant percentage of its production since the 1970s. A U.S. Geological Survey says the region contains 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of its oil.

“To remain globally competitive and to be positioned to provide global leadership and influence in the Arctic, the United States should facilitate exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic now.”2015 National Petroleum Council Report to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Source 

Why is the Arctic important to me?

Domestic energy development was a large contributor to one of the biggest energy stories in recent years: the dramatic drop in the price of gasoline at the pumps for American motorists. But we need Alaskan energy development to ensure that we can maintain reasonable energy prices for consumers for decades to come.

In addition to affecting the daily budgets of all U.S. consumers through gas prices, Arctic energy production also affects:

  • Job creation
  • National security
  • Economic stability
  • Lower energy costs and fuel costs
  • Increases in commercial tax revenue, which decreases taxes on consumers

“Off Alaska, it is vital that the United States maintain and accelerate opportunities to develop offshore oil and gas, particularly in the resource-rich Beaufort and Chukchi Seas…Resource development in the U.S. Arctic would also significantly bolster the nation’s influence in a strategically critical area.”Aves D. Thompson, Executive Director, Alaska Trucking Association Source 

Why is the Arctic important to America?

Arctic exploration and production leads to greater energy self-sufficiency and decreases in oil imports for the U.S. from rival nations like Russia or those in the Middle East. This, in turn, strengthens the U.S. economy, bolsters our global competitiveness, reduces our national debt, improves our national security, and helps keep fuel costs and other energy prices in the U.S. stable regardless of ongoing conflicts overseas.

For an illustration, imagine this: The Alaskan Arctic contains enough untapped oil and natural gas to power nearly every domestic flight for 120 years and heat every American home for nearly 34 years.

“I would rather us — with all the safeguards and standards that we have — be producing our oil and gas, rather than importing it, which is bad for our people, but is also potentially purchased from places that have much lower environmental standards than we do.”President Barack Obama Source 

America might not lead in the Arctic. So what?

During a time of global political and economic uncertainty, it is vital that the U.S. take the appropriate steps to assume leadership in the Arctic. An American-led Arctic would not only strengthen national security and support job creation and economic stability, but it would also prevent international conflict spurred on by unstable countries making overly ambitious power moves in Arctic space. The U.S. is also jeopardizing billions of dollars in potential deficit reduction and tens to hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs by not taking the lead in the Arctic. Finally, the U.S. has the opportunity to set the global Arctic standard for safe, environmentally responsible energy development and other commercial activity.

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It's time for America to lead in the Arctic.