US Arctic Research Commission
January 4, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents


Congress has adjourned until Wednesday, January 5th.

Media Reviewtodaysevents


House Republicans Schedule Vote on Health Care Repeal for Next Week. House Republicans plan to fulfill a campaign promise and hold a vote next week on repealing the healthcare reform law. The incoming House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), announced Monday that the vote will take place on Jan. 12, one week after Republicans take control of the House. The Hill 


Specter of Government Shutdown Still Looms. A top Senate Republican signaled on Sunday that GOP lawmakers are ready to engage in brinkmanship over the federal government's debt ceiling, threatening to let the Treasury default on its obligations if Democrats don't agree to drastic cuts in spending. "This is an opportunity to make sure that the government is changing its spending ways," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. " I will not the vote for the debt ceiling increase until I see a plan in place that will deal with our long term obligations, starting with Social Security. Government Executive 


White House Hires Veteran Environmental Economist. The Obama administration has hired a seasoned environmental economist from the Environmental Defense Fund as the White House prepares to battle congressional Republicans over climate and air pollution regulations. Nat Keohane replaced Joe Aldy on Monday as special assistant to President Barack Obama on energy and environmental issues in the White House's National Economic Council. Politico

Polar bears get the better of spy cameras. The cameras used for a documentary Polar bearon polar bears were designed to be as unobtrusive and resilient as possible. Polar Bear: Spy on The Ice used hi-tech "spy cams" to get as close as possible to the bears during summer in the Arctic islands of Svalbard. But while they were built to withstand temperatures as low as -40C, in the end most could not cope with the curiosity displayed by their subjects. BBC

Timing is Everything: Federal Rules on Shell Air Permits Changed Days After Approval. A federal appeals board says the Environmental Protection Agency failed to consider "environmental justice" impacts regarding air pollution when it approved air permits for Shell's planned offshore oil exploration in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Region 10 of the EPA was following the annual nitrogen dioxide limits in effect at the time the permits were approved, but a revised rule setting an additional one-hour standard took effect on April 12, three days after the second air permit was issued. Before that day there was no one-hour standard for NO2. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner 

Shipping Pollution in the Alaska Arctic. With climate change reducing Arctic ice, Aleut and Pribilof people will find themselves living at the crossroads of two shipping lanes - the Great Circle route to Asia and the fabled Northwest Passage. It also means that those of us living in the Bering Sea region will be increasingly exposed to unprecedented levels of virtually unregulated emissions. Ships in this region are allowed to use high sulfur fuels with 45,000 ppm sulfur - a much higher level than those set in most US waters of 10,000 ppm sulfur content for the majority of bulk fuel blends. Northern Notes (Page 22)

Legislative Actionfutureevents

No formal legislative action was taken yesterday.

by J

Future Eventsfutureevents

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, fish 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?

95th meeting of the USARC, Jan. 21, Anchorage. The USARC will meet in the usarc logo smallQuadrant room of the Captain Cook Hotel, starting at 8:30 am. A detailed agenda will be available at by January 7.

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 issues including shale gas, the effect of federal clean air regulations on natural gas demand, and foreign markets for liquefied natural gas. Panelists


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, 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.
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, 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.


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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