John Kerry

Kerry to Create an Envoy to the Arctic Region

Race to claim resources opening up there

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Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he was creating a position of envoy to the Arctic, fulfilling a longtime request of Alaskan lawmakers.

The announcement, in a letter to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), comes amid increasing concerns that other nations – notably Russia – are staking claims in the Arctic amid a regional race for oil, gas and minerals sparked by global climate change.

Kerry told Begich that "time is of the essence" as the U.S. prepares to preside over the eight-nation Arctic Council next year and that he would "shortly" name a "high level individual of substantial stature and expertise to serve as Special Representative for the Arctic Region."