Murkowski, Begich press White House on Arctic strategy

Begich and Murkowski strongly support offshore oil drilling in the region.

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The Interior Department is on the cusp of giving final approval to Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska’s Arctic coast this summer.

The letter says the state of Alaska should have a “meaningful role” in creating a national strategy.

It cheers several steps the administration has taken to date, such as its support for ongoing Senate efforts to ratify the Law of the Sea treaty, and high-level participation in the 2011 ministerial of the international Arctic Council, which took place in Greenland.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the ministerial.