US Arctic Research Commission
February 9, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is not in session.  The House is expected to consider several non-Arctic issues.


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.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate Dems Play Waiting Game on Continuing Resolution. With a March 4 deadline fast approaching for enacting legislation to fund the remainder of fiscal year 2011, Senate Democrats are biding their time while the GOP-led House races to pass a spending bill to cut discretionary spending by nearly $35 billion. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was poised on Tuesday evening to enter the $1.055 trillion discretionary spending cap for the remainder of fiscal 2011 into the record, which makes it binding under House rules approved in January. Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee used its first meeting of the year to adopt the top-line funding limits for all 12 appropriations bills. But in a possible omen of future feuding between hard-line and harder-line budget cutters in the House GOP, two members, Reps. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., complained that the bill didn't go far enough and voted against it. Government Executive  


Polar Bear Births Could Plummet with Climate Change. University of Alberta Polar bearresearchers Péter Molnár, Andrew Derocher and Mark Lewis studied the reproductive ecology of polar bears in Hudson Bay and have linked declining litter sizes with loss of sea ice. Science Daily 


Change of Heart Keeps Bears Healthy While Hibernating. Hibernating, it turns out, is much more complicated than one might think. Research published in the latest issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology illustrates a complex series of changes that occur in grizzly bears' hearts as they hibernate. The changes guard against complications that could arise from greatly reduced activity. Science Daily 


Walrus Protection Can Wait: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Pacific walrus, hampered by vanishing sea ice in Arctic waters, deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act but must wait in line behind more imperiled animals, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman said on Tuesday. The decision dashed environmentalists' hopes that the lumbering, long-tusked marine mammal would soon join the polar bear as a federally-protected icon of global warming. Reuters 


Denmark and Russia Agree to Military Cooperation: Two countries will Russia_Denmark_flagscollaborate on maneuvers in Baltic and Arctic. New military cooperation between Denmark and Russia, the first of its kind, was agreed upon in Moscow on Tuesday, reports Berlingske newspaper. The agreement is the outcome of a meeting between Danish and Russian defence leaders in Moscow on Tuesday, attended by Gitte Lillelund Bech, the defence minister. It was the first time since 1993 that a Danish defence minister made an official visit to Moscow.The Copenhagen Post


Alaska Gets More Time to Work Against Federal Ice Seal Listing. Alaska will useSeal Brendan Kelly the next 45 days to make its case that two species of ice-dependent seals should not be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service said Tuesday it would extend the comment period on its proposal to list ringed seals, the main prey of polar bears, and bearded seals. State officials object to the proposed listing. Doug Vincent-Lang, endangered species coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the state has assembled data on seals and wanted time to analyze and present it to federal authorities. Anchorage Daily News


Fran Ulmer Hopes Oil Spill Commission Spurs Changes to US Policy. A lot of FranUlmerthings had to go wrong for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to happen last summer. The accident that killed 11 people and spilled an estimated 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was caused by a string of mistakes, malfunctions and miscommunications. A dozen system and equipment failures happened aboard the oil rig on April 20, 2010, before an explosion triggered the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Fran Ulmer, who spoke about the spill at the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks on Tuesday, said it will be up to the oil industry and government regulators to learn something from the mistakes made that day. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Alaska: The 'Largest Aviation System in North America.' [Opinion] As Congress debates whether rural residents of Alaska and other states deserve subsidized access to air travel, the state of Alaska is on a public relations campaign to help Outsiders understand what eliminating the Essential Air Service program would mean in the Last Frontier. Eliminating the subsidies for Alaska rural air service, the state contends, would cause much more than a mere hassle. It would amount to a mega-sized problem with no easy fix. Alaska Dispatch 


Republicans Eye Block of Interior Dept Wilderness Policy. A senior Republican said Tuesday that Interior Department spending legislation could prevent the department from carrying out a new wilderness policy that has drawn widespread opposition from Western GOP members. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who leads the Appropriations Committee subpanel that crafts Interior's budget, said lawmakers could include language that prevents federal funding from being used to implement the program. The Hill


Sen. Rand Paul to Ignore Treaty Obligations to Indians. Watch out, Indian programs and all those who depend on them. The toast of the Tea Party, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, so desperately wants to cut the federal budget that he's ready to stomp all over federal trust responsibility and treaty obligations to Indians-even obliterate them, if he must. The good news: The United States won't be quite so broke. The bad news: The United States will have broken the law in order to balance its books on the backs of Indians. Think that's a melodramatic bit of hyperbole? Check out the proposal introduced in Congress Jan. 25 by the newly elected senator. It calls for the elimination of funding to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the Department of the Interior agency that oversees a variety of Indian programs. That's not all. The senator, who is a medical doctor (an eye surgeon, although seemingly myopic), also proposes trimming almost half of the Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service (IHS) budget this year. Republicans and Democrats don't tend to agree on much, but one thing they have agreed on over the years is that IHS has been dramatically underfunded. Like them or not, the BIA and IHS are the main agencies of the federal government that have worked with and for Indians, carrying out federal trust responsibility and treaty obligations called for in the U.S. Constitution. Indian Country Today 


ICC Set to Meet on Resource Development: Inuit leaders will seek a common position on resource development. Inuit from Canada, Alaska. Greenland and Russia plan to meet in Ottawa at the Chateau Laurier hotel Feb. 23 to Feb. 24 24, the Inuit Circumpolar Council announced Feb. 8. Their task: to forge a common Inuit position on resource development in the Arctic. ICC said the summit was called to respond to the Nuuk Declaration, adopted last June at the end of the ICC general assembly in Nuuk. Nanatsiaq News  


CDC Expands Arctic Lab to Fight Disease, Bioterrorism in Alaska. A federal disease-fighting program in Alaska recently doubled its laboratory space, a move designed to further protect residents from deadly pathogens, including bioterrorism threats. Officials with the Arctic Investigations Program in Anchorage, part of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unveiled the $2.3 million renovation and addition in Anchorage, near the Alaska Native Medical Center, late last month. For decades, the CDC has played a critical role in preventing the spread of disease in Alaska. More labs will lead to more advances, especially in rural Alaska, said officials attending the ceremony. The Arctic Sounder 


Members Needed to Support Sustainable Salmon Initiative. The Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYK SSI) Steering Committee (SC) is distributing this call for nominations to solicit interest for new members on the AYK SSI Scientific Technical Committee (STC), as outlined in the AYK SSI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The following information describes the background, selection requirements and responsibilities for the STC. Please use them as a guide in making your nominations. Since 1997, salmon returns to Western Alaska have been subject to 16 state and federal disaster declarations. Low salmon runs create numerous hardships for the people and communities that depend so heavily on this fishery resource. Poor returns of Chinook and chum salmon to the Yukon River, Kuskokwim River, and rivers draining into Norton Sound, have led to severe restrictions on commercial and subsistence fisheries. The Arctic Sounder 


Legislative Actionfutureevents

H.R. 521, to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to prevent the approval of genetically engineered fish. (Young- introduced and referred to committee)


H.R. 536, to amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to revise and extend the Act (Cole- Introduced and referred to multiple committees)


H.R. 563, to authorize issuance of certificates of documentation authorizing certain vessels to engage in coastwise trade in the carriage of natural gas. (Young- introduced and referred to committee)


S. 302, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to issue right-of-way permits for a natural gas transmission pipeline in non-wilderness areas within the boundary of Denali National Park (Murkowski- introduced and referred to committee)

Future Eventsfutureevents      


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Energy Department, February 16.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy.


Murkowski Alaska State Legislature Address, February 24. Senator Murkowski will deliver her annual address to the Alaska State Legislature.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Interior Department, March 2.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the Department of Interior.


Fiscal 2012 Budget: Forest Service, March 3.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the fiscal 2012 budget request for the U.S. Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.


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 Dialogue & Study Tour, March 22-24, 2011. For the past four years Norway's Bodř University Graduate School of Business, the High North Centre for Business and Governance (affiliated with the University), the International Institute of Energy Politics and Diplomacy (MIEP) at MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia, and HBW Resources have hosted an annual Arctic Dialogue and Study Tour.  The tour brings together stakeholders from all Arctic nations (government, industries, academic, native and local peoples) to discuss issues involving resource development in the Arctic, and share common experiences, best practices and solutions. For more information contact Andrew Browning.


Arctic Science Summit Week, Seoul, March 28-April 1, 2011. The 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.  


The Arctic as a Messenger for Global Processes- Climate Change and Pollution, May 4-6, 2011. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP), the University of Copenhagen, and Aarhus University. The conference will include talks by invited keynote speakers, oral presentations selected on the basis of submitted abstracts, poster presentations, and short oral presentations of selected posters. A panel discussion will develop messages to be communicated to the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting that will take place in Greenland one week after the conference. 

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 Muskokaddresses 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 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, 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.   


Operating in the Arctic: Supporting the US Coast Guard Challenges Through Research, Sept. 21-23, 2010. This workshop, held on at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the US Arctic Research Commission, explored and identified ways in which scientific research and development can improve the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate and carry out its statutory missions in the Arctic region. Participation in this event included state, local and international stakeholders, academics and researchers, and USCG and other federal agency officials. A funding opportunity associated with this activity is described here.


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.   


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14. This policy colloquium brings together a group to consider atmospheric policy.  The colloquium will cover policy creation basics, interactions with congressional staff, and information on the current atmospheric policy issues. 

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