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March 03, 2015

At King’s Recommendation, Maine Port Authority Official to Testify Before Senate Energy Panel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At the recommendation of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Arnold, the Director of Operations and Business Development for the Maine Port Authority, will testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing on the Arctic this coming Thursday. Senator King, a member of the committee, recommended Mr. Arnold to Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who has the authority to call witnesses for hearings.

“Climate change is quickly altering the Arctic environment, melting ice and opening new sea lanes to maritime traffic that have never been used or charted before. From national security interests to energy resources and shipping routes, those changes – while profoundly unfortunate – will have serious implications that the United States must be prepared for,” Senator King said. “As one of the top officials at the Maine Port Authority, Patrick understands all too well how the U.S. must adapt to these changes and how the resulting increased shipping will change the dynamics not only of the Arctic, but also of the economy – stretching from ports in Maine to those all across the globe.”

Mr. Arnold will testify Thursday morning during a hearing entitled “Artic Opportunities”, which will examine the need for increased U.S. leadership in the region. In a letter to committee leaders last week, Senator King outlined several priorities he hopes the committee will consider in the hearing, particularly as the United States prepares to assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council this April. The priorities include:

  • Appointing a United States Ambassador to the Arctic
  • Acceding to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
  • Examining the need for long-lead investments in infrastructure, like ice-breakers and search and rescue assets
  • Evaluating the unique challenges Arctic shipping faces, from claims of ownership over international straits to the emission of black carbon that contributes to a climate feedback effect to inadequate charting
  • How and whether the United States can continue to work cooperatively with Russia on Arctic issues, even as other aspects of the bilateral relationship are under significant strain
  • The impact of changes on the people of the Arctic, whether they live in Alaska, Canada, Finland or other parts of the region

Other witnesses at the hearing include Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., U.S. Special Representative for the Arctic Region; an Alaska State Senator; an Alaska State Representative; the Mayor of North Slope Borough in Alaska; and a Professor from the College of Environment, School of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.

Aside from Admiral Papp, Mr. Arnold will be the only witness from outside of Alaska or Washington, the home states of the committee’s leadership, to testify on Thursday. The hearing can be watched live HERE.

Senator King, also a member of the Armed Services Committee, is a strong proponent of advancing U.S. interests in the Arctic. Last year, he visited the region and called for the U.S. to recalibrate its national security and economic strategies to better address the changing environment as well as the challenges and opportunities that come along with it.


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