White House: US Must Assert Rights in Warming Arctic

Outgoing policymakers expect surge in region's military, commercial activity
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 19, 2009 12:00 PM CST
A polar bear falls through thin ice in Hudson Bay off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba.   (WWF)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – With the Arctic getting warmer, the Bush administration predicts a multinational grab at resources there. To that end, it released a 10-page directive describing challenges the US faces and calling for an Arctic policy that underlines US concerns, the Washington Post reports. “The United States has broad and fundamental national security interests in the Arctic region,” the document says.

As the area heats up, “you’re removing the shield that has effectively sheltered the Arctic from this gold rush,” said a conservation advocate, who called for a “science-based” approach to handling exploration for oil. The US Coast Guard also says it needs established search-and-rescue ability and a plan to deal with oil spills.