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WASHINGTON — The United States is racing to keep pace with stepped-up activity in the once sleepy Arctic frontier, but it is far from being in the lead.
Nations across the world are hurrying to stake claims to resources in the Arctic, which might be home to 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped natural gas. There are emerging fisheries and hidden minerals. Cruise liners and cargo ships are plying Arctic waters in increasing numbers.
The United States, which takes over the rotating chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council in 2015, has not ignored the Arctic, but critics say it is lagging behind the other seven: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada, and Denmark, through the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.