WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is racing to keep pace with stepped-up activity in the Arctic frontier, but it is far from being in the lead.

Nations across the world are hurrying to stake claims to the Arctic's resources.

That's because the Artic 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 filled with tourists are sailing the Arctic's frigid waters in increasing numbers. Cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route is on the rise.

The U.S. takes over the two-year rotating chairmanship of the eight-nation Arctic Council in 2015 and has not ignored the Arctic. But critics say the U.S. is lagging behind the other seven countries in the council.

(Story by Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press)