Larsen: New Arctic Representative is Good News For U.S. Arctic Policy

Jul 16, 2014 Issues: Climate Change,

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, commended today’s news that Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. will be the new U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic. In the role, Papp will oversee efforts to advance U.S. interests in the Arctic region at the Arctic Council, which the United States will chair beginning next year.

“The melting sea ice in the Arctic means the region is rapidly opening up for shipping, natural resources development and scientific discovery. But along with these opportunities come many environmental risks and safety challenges. The U.S. needs to protect its interests and work in coordination with the other seven Arctic nations. That means prioritizing Arctic policy, a step the State Department took today in appointing Admiral Papp to serve as Special Representative to the Arctic.

“Admiral Papp recognizes the importance of the Arctic region. He supported refurbishing the Polar Star, one the country’s two heavy icebreakers. And he has a long history of service with the Coast Guard, which is responsible for the safety of our country’s maritime presence in the Arctic. As the former Ranking Member of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, I know that Admiral Papp is a great choice for this position.

“Our country has more work to do to catch up with other Arctic nations, particularly when it comes to our anemic icebreaker fleet. And Congress should pass the legislation I introduced with Congressman Sensenbrenner to make this a full scale ambassadorial position. But I am pleased the administration has appointed such a strong Special Representative to the Arctic in Admiral Papp. I look forward to working with him in the months to come,” Larsen said.