United States Arctic Policy - As the US looks north, should Canada be concerned?

    CALGARY, May 28 /CNW/ - In releasing a new Arctic policy in January 2009,
the United States signaled it is beginning to understand the Arctic is
changing in a manner that concerns its vital national interests. According to
University of Calgary political scientist Rob Huebert, "the United States is
now facing a geo-political environment that is becoming more complicated and
possibly more dangerous than was the case in the last decade".
    In his paper, United States Arctic Policy: The Reluctant Arctic Power,
Huebert argues that the new US Arctic policy has been developed to focus on a
rapidly changing northern dynamic. Huebert states, "Now that the Arctic is
transforming due to climate change, resource development, globalization, and
geopolitical factors, the United States can no longer ignore the Arctic".
    Huebert suggests that this fresh focus on the north has the potential to
impact Canada both positively and negatively. For example, while Canadian oil
and gas exploration in the north is welcome by the United States, the
potential for the US to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and to
pursue off-shore territorial claims in the Beaufort Sea may be cause for
concern. As well, the new Arctic policy leaves less room for Canada to
negotiate with the United States over its interpretation of the status of the
Northwest Passage.
    Huebert's paper will be released by The School of Public Policy at The
University of Calgary at 9:00 am (MT) on Thursday May 28, 2009. The full text
of the paper can be found at www.ucalgary.ca/policystudies
    SPP Briefing Papers are published by The School of Public Policy at the
University of Calgary to provide timely studies of current issues in public
policy. Focus on the United States is a collection of papers resulting from an
initiative of The Institute for United States Policy Research within The
School of Public Policy and the Canada Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center
for International Scholars.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Betty Rice, Associate Director,
Communications and Educational Programming, School of Public Policy,
bwrice@ucalgary.ca, (403) 966-0776

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