The new administration greets the Arctic Council in Fairbanks, AK

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting welcomes the new Secretary of State. Secretary Rex Tillerson in Fairbanks, Alaska for the eight-nation gathering, representing the Trump Administration. Back in Washington there is speculation as to what Tillerson will take away from the meeting.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says she is proud to host the Arctic Council in her state.

“ He knows all about the Arctic,” said Dr. Charles Doran, Director of the Global Theory and History Program at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Tillerson is in familiar territory at the meeting according to Doran. He says Tillerson’s past at Exxonmobil gave him ample experience in the Arctic. Doran says he expects the Secretary of State to do a lot of listening.

“If you wanted to transmit these ideas to the president, you couldn’t find a better person,” said Doran.

Doran says he expects Tillerson to report back on an array of issues, like fishing rights, native peoples’ issues and the ever-important topic of Arctic melting.

“I think it’ll be a controversial topic inside the administration,” said Doran. “They are going to have to think about exactly what the policies should be in regard to the development of fossil fuels.”

This meeting marks the end of a two-year Arctic Council chairmanship for the United States. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) says she’s proud to host the ministerial in her home state as the gavel is passed on to Finland.

“We’ve had an opportunity to highlight some of the U.S. priorities over the last couple years,” said Murkowski.

Priorities, Murkowski says, like broadband, economic development, science and research, and community resilience.

“Gathering with the foreign ministers from the eight Arctic nations as well as the permanent participants will be an important and significant meeting,” said Murkowski.

The Finnish Arctic Council Chairmanship officially starts tomorrow.