The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently cooperates with Russia on reducing stocks of pesticides, mercury, and other environmentally hazardous materials via the Arctic Contaminants Action Program of the Arctic Council. The EPA has also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Defense since 2006 to establish a mercury recycling system for the Russian Navy’s old mercury lamps, thus reducing the potential for future mercury release into the Arctic.
The administration should continue these programs and initiate a broad-based Arctic environmental dialogue with Moscow. We should engage with Moscow on issues including creating Arctic shipping standards, in particular regulating “black carbon” and other pollutant emissions from Arctic-going vessels; limiting fishing in international waters; and ensuring environmentally safe natural resource extraction. Furthering bilateral environmental cooperation with Russia could help lay the foundation for an Arctic-wide environmental governance regime.
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