Bush Moves To Increase U.S. Influence In Arctic

The outgoing Bush Administration is preparing a directive to federal agencies that would lay the groundwork for allowing the United States to assert greater control over the Arctic region, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The expected directive will call on federal agencies to more clearly define the Arctic region and its seabed over which the nation could lay claim. Commercial interests in the Arctic have increased since global warming has shrunk sea ice in the region, exposing potential shipping routes, oil fields and mineral deposits.

The region is estimated to contain more than one fifth of the world's undiscovered, recoverable oil and natural-gas resources, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

“The purpose of the Arctic policy is to recognize that the U.S. has important and strategic interests in the Arctic region,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told the Wall Street Journal.

“Many countries have been aggressively pursuing their interests in the Arctic…The U.S., as an Arctic nation, has competitive interests in the region, and we need to be a player there along with all the other arctic nations.”

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