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2 July 2014

Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress

This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for the US Congress based on the release of the national strategy document for the Arctic region in May 2013. The melting of Arctic sea ice has led to increased activity in the Arctic as well as concerns about the region's future. Issues such as sovereignty claims, commercial shipping, oil, gas, and mineral exploration, endangered species, and increased military operations could turn the region into an arena of international cooperation, one of competition, or one of conflict concludes the report.



Ronald O'Rourke



Figures: Figure 1. Arctic Area of Alaska as Defined by ARPA; Figure 2. Entire Arctic Area as Defined by ARPA; Figure 3. Arctic Sea Ice Extent in September 2008, Compared with Prospective Shipping Routes and Oil and Gas Resources; Figure 4. Illustrative Map of Arctic SAR Areas in Arctic SAR Agreement Appendixes: Appendix A. Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (Title I of P.L. 98-373); Appendix B. P.L. 101-609 of 1990, Amending Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984; Appendix C. January 2009 Presidential Arctic Policy Directive Appendix D. May 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region