US Arctic Research Commission
August 1, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate will continue debt negotiations. It appears that over the weekend, leaders from the House and Senate and the White House reached a deal. The compromise will lead the congressional agenda.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


The Week at a Glance: August 1-5, 2011. The nation bumps against the Treasury's deadline to raise the debt ceiling Tuesday, as leaders on the Hill work to push a final deal through both houses. The House might continue debating the fiscal 2012 Interior-Environment spending bill. At the end of the week, both chambers are expected to recess until after Labor Day. Congressional Quarterly


White House, Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal. Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps. CNN


Report Recommends Tapping Arctic Refuge by Drilling at its Edge. An advocacy group supported by a set of former U.S. military officers is backing a plan to tap oil beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by drilling a directional well just outside its boundary. In a report released to Dow Jones Newswires Monday morning, the group--Securing America's Energy Future or SAFE--proposes the Arctic pilot project, which would be a real-world test of whether oil companies could use so-called extended drilling techniques to tap reserves below the environmentally-sensitive refuge. Fox Business


Energy Board Report Finds Arctic Oil Spill Cleanup Impossible One Day in Five.rubber duck covered in oil A newly released report commissioned by Canada's energy regulator has concluded that clean-up efforts for an offshore oil spill in the Arctic could be impossible at least one day in five because of bad weather or sea ice. And a spokesman for one environmental group said that a recent U.S. study suggests even that figure could be underestimating the risk. "They may be overly optimistic," said Rob Powell of the World Wildlife Fund's Arctic program. Winnipeg Free Press


Alaska Sea Ice Study Goes Beyond the Numbers. In places where the air gets cold enough to freeze seawater, sea ice creates a world known by few people - a shifting, ephemeral, both jagged and smooth platform of white that clings to the shore for much of the year. In Barrow, people who hunt whales start packing down snowmachine trails over this blue-white dreamscape in March. The trails allow a few dozen crews to pursue and hopefully winch home a few bowhead whales in April and May. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Scientist Wants Canada to Blast Off: B.C. rocket launch site proposed. Whether Canada should have its own space-launch facility is a debate that's been making the rounds in the scientific and business communities for years without any progress being made. But that hasn't stopped Redouane Fakir as he develops a proposal to build the first-ever rocket launch site on Canada's west coast. His dream is to eventually make Vancouver Island Canada's future hub for space science and exploration - once he lines up the cash, local co-operation, and government approval. The Chronicle Herald


BOEMRE: Director says offshore oil agency not on 'witch hunt.' The following email was forwarded to Alaska Dispatch Friday, and was sent from Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich to BOEMRE's Alaska regional office employees. The email is in response to recent revelations that an Arctic polar bear scientist had been suspended from his job with the Interior Department. According to the Feds, Dr, Charles Monnett's suspension was not politically motivated, and the suspension did not involve questions about his scientific integrity. Monnett claims not to know why he was suspended. Alaska Dispatch


polar bear icePolar Bear Science and the Spin Cycle. [BLOG} There's been a rush to all manner of judgments over the strange case of Charles Monnett, the biologist for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement who provided a powerful talking point for climate campaigners, including former Vice President Al Gore, with his description of several drowned polar bears spotted during an aerial marine-mammals survey in 2004 - an observation enshrined in a short paper published in Polar Biology in 2006. New York Times

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 50, Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization (Young, House hearings held)


H.R. 2580, Interior-Environment appropriations bill (Simpson, considered in the House)


S. 1063, Huna Tlingit Traditional Gull Egg Use Act (Murkowski, Senate hearing held)

Future Events                     


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 Engineering (Harbin, China) will host the Ninth International Symposium on Permafrost Engineering to be held in Mirny, Yakutia. The aim of the Symposium is to provide a forum for discussion of permafrost engineering issues, as well as for exchanging practical experience in construction and maintenance of engineering structures on frozen ground. For additional information, please contact Lilia Prokopieva. 


Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, September 4-6, 2011."Our Ice Dependent World," organized by the Northern Research Forum and its partners as the Northern Research Forum 6th Open Assembly, will be hosted by the University of Akureyri in the town of Hveragerđi, Iceland. Addressing the three 'poles' - the Arctic, the Antarctic and the Himalayan region- the sub-themes represent different  perspectives for viewing the subject of natural ice and evaluating its importance.  The event will consider implications of ice melt on humanity, communities, minds, perceptions and knowledge on ice; International law, 'soft law' and governance on ice.


4th International Sea Duck Conference, seaduckconferencelogoSeptember 12-16, 2011. The Sea Duck Joint Venture has helped sponsor a North American Sea Duck Conference once every three years since 2002. These conferences provide opportunities for researchers and managers to share information and research results, conduct workshops on specific issues, and to hold related meetings. The 4th conference will officially be an international conference and will be held in Seward, Alaska, 12-16 September, 2011, with participants from the U.S., Canada, Russia and Europe, focusing on sea ducks in the North and the Arctic. It will be held at the Windsong Lodge, with three days of presentations and workshops, and there will be a chartered boat trip the last day into the Kenai Fjords to watch sea ducks. Registration is available on the website for the conference and the excursion.


Lowell Wakefield International Fisheries Symposium, September 14-17, 2011.The 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.    


Advanced Workshop on Oil Spills In Sea Ice: Past, Present and Future Fermo

September 20-23, 2011. A technical workshop, organized by Dr. Peter Wadhams, on the physical problems associated with oil spills and blowouts in sea ice will be held at the Istituto Geografico Polare "Silvio Zavatti," Fermo, Italy. Scientists, engineers and policy makers are invited to address the questions of how oil is emitted from a blowout or spill, how the oil and gas are incorporated in the under-ice surface, how the oil layer evolves, how the oil is transported by the ice, and how and where eventual release occurs. The aim is to incorporate the experience of those scientists who worked in this field in the 1970s-1990s, when large-scale field experiments involving oil release were possible, and to relate this to the needs of present researchers who are seeking solutions to the problem of a sustainable Arctic oil spill management system. Registration forms are available here


Murmansk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, the forum will host discussion on Arctic navigation, development of the Northern Sea Route, railway extensions, and construction of a deep-water port in Arkhangelsk.  The official website is in Russian.


The Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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. Details to follow.   


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Heath, August 5-10, 2012. This kivalina girlevent is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Circumpolar Health, and the International Union for Circumpolar Health.  The forum will consider community participatory research and indigenous research; women's health, family health, and well-being; food security and nutrition; social determinants of health; environmental and occupational health; infectious and chronic diseases; climate change-health impacts; health service delivery and infrastructure; and, behavioral health.


Arctic/Inuit/Connections: Learning from the Top of the World, October 24-28, 2012.  The 18th Inuit Studies Conference, hosted by the Smithsonian Institution, will be held in Washington, DC. The conference will consider heritage museums and the North; globalization: an Arctic story; power, governance and politics in the North; the '"new" Arctic: social, cultural and climate change; and Inuit education, health, language, and literature. For more information, please email Lauren Marr.


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