Arctic Council to meet amid drilling concerns

The Detroit News posted an article titled, “Arctic Council to meet amid drilling concerns.” The article reads in part as follows;

“High-level officials from the world’s eight Arctic nations will meet in Alaska amid concerns about the future of the sensitive region after President Donald Trump called for more oil drilling and development.

Among those expected to attend the meeting of the Arctic Council beginning Thursday in Fairbanks are U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who met Wednesday with Trump and Tillerson in Washington.

No formal discussions were set in Alaska but key issues such as climate change, development and drilling will provide a backdrop as the chairmanship of the council passes from the U.S. to Finland.

‘We are unsure what the Trump administration thinks about the Arctic region in general, about the Arctic Council in particular and about its role’, said Victoria Herrmann, president of The Arctic Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based group that provides research to shape Arctic policy.

The Arctic Council is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and indigenous groups. Its focus is sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic.

It does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.

‘In terms of being a reflection of a nation’s priorities, it can only go so far since all eight have to agree to the same thing’, said Nils Andreassen, executive director of the Anchorage-based Institute of the North, a non-partisan organization focused on Arctic resources.

 Tillerson arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks and immediately held a meeting with a congressional delegation as well as Arctic representatives from Alaska’s indigenous people.

Protesters gathered in a city park nearby to denounce the presence of Tillerson, who was president of Exxon Mobil Corp.”

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