US Arctic Research Commission
December 10, 2010

capitalToday's Eventstodaysevents


The Senate debates a bill to extend expiring George W. Bush -era tax provisions. The measure also includes extensions of an energy grant program and ethanol tax credits. Vermont independent Bernard Sanders will be recognized at 10:15 a.m. to speak in opposition to the bill. No votes are scheduled until Dec. 13.


 The House is not in session.

UNOLS Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee meeting. Seattle. Dec. 9-10.AICC agenda


Media Reviewtodaysevents


Snowe, Collins Pledge Support for New START. Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins have pledged to support the New START nuclear treaty, giving President Obama two crucial GOP votes for his foreign policy priority. Snowe issued a statement Friday promising to vote for the treaty if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) brings it to the floor in the lame-duck session. The Hill


Democrats Ignore Steering Committee, Pick Rep. Levin For Ways and Means. House Democrats voted Thursday to retain Sander M. Levin of Michigan as their leader on the Ways and Means Committee, sending a signal to the White House and Republicans that they will continue fighting for their priorities on tax, trade and entitlement policy. Levin, who fended off a serious challenge from Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, made it clear in the run-up to his election by the Democratic Caucus that he intended to take a strong partisan stance in the next Congress, possibly continuing the type of resistance to bipartisanship that Democrats have exhibited during the debate over the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts (PL 107-16, PL 108-27). Congressional Quarterly


Just Don't Call Them Earmarks. Operating under very tight budget constraints, Congress will keep federal spending flat next year - except for the wild horses of the West, who get an extra $12 million. House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) unveiled a bill Tuesday to fund the government through the rest of the year that is in the spirit of Washington's new austerity, saying the measure "prohibits funding for Congressional earmarks." Roll Call


Alaska Senators Disappointed by Steller Sea Lion Decision. Restrictions will cost jobs, harm fishing industry. New restrictions on fishing in the western Aleutians will cost Alaska jobs and exports without clear indication that it will benefit the environment, U.S. Sens. Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski said today. Begich and Murkowski responded to the release by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the final interim biological opinion on the endangered Steller sea lion which will require closure of massive areas of productive fishing grounds in the western Aleutians that may cut in half the $60 million annual Atka mackerel and Pacific cod fisheries. Begich/ Murkowski press release 


NOAA Restricts Commercial Mackerel, Cod Fishing in Western Aleutians to Protect Western Steller Sea Lions: But finds eastern Stellers may have recovered enough to be removed from endangered list. NOAA's Fisheries Service today issued its final interim rule to reduce commercial fishing for groundfish stocks in the Aleutian Islands in an effort to provide more food for the endangered western Steller sea lion. The rule, which would prohibit fishing for Atka mackerel and Pacific cod, the main source of food for the animal, in an area off the western Aleutian Islands, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2011.  NOAA  


Conflicting Federal Interests Exposed in Alaska Drilling Debate. Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved to save the polar bears when it designated nearly 200,000 square miles of the Arctic as critical habitat for the animals, deemed threatened by the federal government. Last week, the Interior Department and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement decided new oil development could move forward in the Arctic, including smack in the middle of the bears' home turf. Alaska Dispatch  


Nunavut Rips U.S. Move on Ringed Seals. The Nunavut government says it will fight a proposal by the United States to add ringed seals to its list of endangered species. NOAA announced last week that it wants to list ringed seals found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic as a "threatened" species under that country's Endangered Species Act. CBC News


Russia Mulls New Agency for Polar Shipping: Ship Traffic Grows on Northern Sea Route. Russia may establish a new bureau to oversee growing shipping traffic through its Arctic Northern Sea Route, report the Barents Observer and Voice of Russia. The Northern Sea Route administration would provide navigational and hydrographic information to ships travelling through the Arctic Ocean over the top of Russia, in a route sometimes also called the Northeast Passage. Nunatsiaq Online

One in Ten Finnish Species Under Threat. More than 10 per cent of the species  listed in a wide-ranging survey of Finland's flora, fauna and fungi are classified as Helsinki Times  


Golden Sea Rescue Raises Questions About Region's Emergency Preparedness. Yesterday, the 738-food cargo ship Golden Seas was successfully towed into the Port of Dutch Harbor, four days after issuing a distress call.Now, the State of Alaska and conservation groups alike are reconsidering emergency preparedness in the Aleutian Islands. KUCB 


Motion Calls for Oil Tanker Ban off B.C. Coast. The opposition has stepped up its pressure on the Harper government to ban oil-tanker traffic off the B.C. coast, passing a motion in the House of Commons calling on the Conservatives to legislate a formal moratorium. The opposition parties teamed up Tuesday to pass a motion introduced by New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen urging the government to immediately propose legislation to "ban bulk oil tanker traffic" through the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, off the north coast of British Columbia. Calgary Herald   

Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R.3082 : Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (vehicle for both continuing appropriations and food safety)

(Edwards  - received in the Senate)

Future Eventsfutureevents


American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 13-17. The fall meeting will include sessions on "Extratropical and High-latitude Storms, Teleconnections, and Changing Climate," "Bringing Together Environmental, Socio-Economic, and Climatic Change Studies in Northern Eurasia," "The Use of Observations for Evaluating CMIP5/IPCC Simulations," and "The Future of Polar Science: The Path Beyond the IPY." 
 NSF logo
Arctic Town Hall Meeting at AGU, December 15.  The National Science Foundation, Division of Arctic Sciences, will host a town hall meeting.  For additional information, please contact William Wiseman

Alaska Native Congressional Reception, December 15.  The Alaska Delegation is hosting a congressional reception in conjunction with the White House Tribal Leadership Conference. Please RSVP to Kristen Daimler

New Congress, January 3. The 112th Congress begins.
Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 17-21. Within each theme (Bering AMSS 2011 promoSea, Arctic Ocean, and Gulf of Alaska), presenters will discuss climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fishes and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research.
National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment, January 19-21. One of the conference themes is "White Arctic/ Blue Arctic."  This theme will address ice changes in the Arctic to consider several questions: What does science tell us about the future of the Arctic? How would issues about the future - white or blue - be resolved? What models and monitoring data will be required to support an emerging management regime that would allow for sustainable use of the Arctic? How can use of the Arctic and its resources be managed in the face of these possibilities? 

Public Forum on Natural Gas Markets, January 22. The federal coordinator's office for the Alaska natural gas pipeline will sponsor a public forum on gas markets Jan. 22 to help Alaskans better understand the supply-and-demand fundamentals affecting the proposed pipeline project. The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects will bring to Alaska several national experts on Lower 48 supply and demand including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas.


Arctic Tipping Points, January 23-29, 2011. Arctic Frontiers will host a conferenceseesaw considering the following topics: Ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in the Arctic;  Marine ecosystems and fisheries; Socioeconomic and institutional perspectives; and People of the North.
President's Budget, February 7.  By statute, the president is required to submit his annual budget proposal to Congress by the first Monday in February.
Arctic Technology Conference, February 7-9, 2011. The Arctic is one of the few places on the globe which still holds enormous new petroleum reserve potential. A recently completed USGS survey estimated that 20% of the world's remaining reserves were trapped beneath the Arctic Circle. OTC's inaugural Arctic Technology Conference (ATC), 7-9 February 2011 in Houston, Texas, will be a truly global event focused on the cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices needed for exploration and production in the Arctic.

International Conference on Arctic Marine Science, International Law and Climate Protection, March 17-18. The German Federal Foreign Office is hosting an event that will take place on the Berlin premises of the Federal Office. The event is co-hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, with additional support from prominent research institutes. The Conference will discuss the legal framework for marine scientific research in the Arctic Ocean at present and in the future. Scholars, scientists and diplomats with an interest in the Arctic Ocean are invited to attend. For more information, please contact

Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011The purpose of Korean Flagthe Arctic Science Summit Week is to provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration, and cooperation in all fields of Arctic science.  The Arctic Science Week 2011 is supported by the Korean government, the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science & Technology, and the Seoul Tourism Organization, among other groups.
Sixth International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 2, 2011 at the University of Alaska - Fairbanks.  The International Conference on Arctic Margins (ICAM) will examine current geological and geophysical research on the Arctic. Topics include: hydrocarbon potential and gas hydrates; science issues relating to UNCLOS Article 76; geodynamic significance of Arctic magmatism; vertical motions in the Arctic, tectonic, and glacial; geology and palaeogeography of the Arctic continental margins; evolution of the Arctic Ocean basins, including plate reconstructions, magmatism, and sedimentology; modern Arctic environments, including geological, climatic, and oceanographic processes; recent advances in Arctic research technology.   More information email.
7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland.  The International Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every three years. 
Holocene Glacier Variability from the Tropics to the Poles, July 20-27, 2011. Glaciers respond sensitively to climate change. Recent (Holocene) glacier fluctuations are a valuable proxy for terrestrial interglacial paleoclimate conditions. A main challenge for interpreting paleoclimate from past mountain glacier extents is distinguishing local and regional patterns from global signals. Reconstructing Holocene glacier extents involves many disciplines including terrestrial and marine geology, geochronology and glaciology.  Organizers hope to facilitate an inter-hemispheric comparison of glacier records including locations in the Tropics, European Alps, American Cordillera, Southern Alps of New Zealand, Himalaya and Polar Regions and to identify future research questions and directions. For additional information contact: Meredith Kelly.
13th Arctic Ungulates Conference (AUC), August 22-26, 2011.  The theme of the conference will be "Challenges of Managing Northern Ungulates." The theme addresses the difficulties of managing ungulate populations that are faced with the unpredictable effects of climate change and an ever-increasing human presence on the land. The conference will also focus on the challenges associated with developing recovery actions for declining caribou and reindeer populations that are an integral part of Aboriginal cultures and ways of life. 
9th International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering, September 3-7, 2011. The Melnikov Permafrost Institute (Yakutsk, Russia), the Institute of Northern Mining (Yakutsk, Russia), the Cold and Arid Regions Engineering and Environmental Research Institute (Lanzhou, China), and the Heilongjiang Institute of Cold Region permafrostEngineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on  Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium i s to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchange of practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva.
Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011The 27th Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, entitled "Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change," will be held in Anchorage, Alaska. This international symposium will provide a forum for scholars, fishery managers, fishing families, and others to explore the human dimensions of fishery systems and growing need to include social science research in policy processes.  The conference is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Sea Grant program.


The Tenth International Conference on Permafrost, June 2012.  The conference will be held in Tyumen, Russia, and is organized and hosted by Russia.  The last conference was held in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2008.  More details to follow.


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