U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System: Overview and Priorities for Action 2013
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U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System: Overview and Priorities for Action 2013

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      The United States is an Arctic nation. Due to climate change, the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth. As the loss of sea ice creates a more accessible Arctic, we must consider: Risks and opportunities for commerce and economic growth; Security of our maritime domain; Indigenous peoples and their subsistence cultures; and, Marine resource management, particularly along the Alaskan coast. Safe marine transportation is fundamental to each of these pursuits. For this reason, the region and the United States need an Arctic Marine Transportation System (MTS). The Arctic MTS should be capable of meeting the safety, security, and environmental protection needs of present and future Arctic stakeholders and activities. The international Arctic Council, comprising eight circumpolar states (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States), has recognized the incontrovertible links among marine transportation, environmental protection, and sustainable Arctic development. In May 2009, the Arctic Council Ministers approved the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment (AMSA) Report, a project of the Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME), co-led by the United States, Canada, and Finland. The AMSA highlighted the lack of marine infrastructure available to the region and made a number of recommendations to enhance Arctic marine transportation safety, protect Arctic people and the environment, and build Arctic marine infrastructure. The AMSA recommendations reflect priorities for safety of navigation and protection of the environment that are similar to those contained in the January 2009 U.S. Arctic Region Policy, National Security Presidential Directive 66/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25.
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