January 21, 2015

DeFazio, Larsen, Garamendi Applaud Administration’s Efforts to Coordinate Federal Action in the Arctic

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Aviation Subcommittee Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation John Garamendi (D-CA), applauded efforts by the Obama Administration to coordinate a government wide approach to addressing U.S. interests in the Arctic.

The Representatives offered the following statements in support:

“I want to commend the President for taking this important action. Finally, the U.S. will have a specific entity to coordinate a government wide approach to addressing the Nation's unfolding geopolitical, economic, environmental and national security interests in the Arctic.  This EO will also strengthen the posture of the U.S. Special Representative to the Arctic and increase U.S. leverage within the Arctic Council when the US assumes the two-year chairmanship in March. I hope this means the President plans to include an Arctic budget initiative in his FY 2016 budget request,” DeFazio said.

“The GAO has told me that better coordination between federal stakeholders is imperative to make the United States’ Arctic policy work. I am glad the administration is listening. I would like to see this new Arctic Executive Steering Committee help streamline the important work that needs to get done across many sectors, from the environment to national security, as we prepare to take over Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in a few months. I believe Admiral Papp is the right man for the job as our Special Representative to the Arctic, and I hope he will also head this new committee. I will continue to push the administration to focus on this developing area,” said Larsen, who is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a co-chair of the Congressional Arctic Working Group.

"With climate change drastically altering the Arctic, the United States must prepare for the future. We need a coordinated government response to the inevitable ecological, economic, political, and security consequences of an opened Arctic, and for this reason, the President's action is a positive step forward," Garamendi said.