US Arctic Research Commission
July 14, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House is expected to consider Energy-Water appropriations.  The Senate is expected to consider Military Construction-Veterans Affairs funding legislation.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


Alaska Drilling Bill Backed by House Panel. A House panel Wednesday backed aOil Drilling in Alaska bill to expedite the production and transport of oil and gas from the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska - one of several measures approved that are geared toward speeding up bureaucratic processes tied to domestic energy production. The bill (HR 2150), endorsed by the Natural Resources Committee, 28-14, also would direct the Interior Department to conduct at least one lease sale a year from 2011 through 2021 in areas of the reserve most likely to produce commercial quantities of oil and natural gas. Congressional Quarterly


House Committee Approves Third Piece of 'No Child Left Behind' Overhaul. A House panel on Wednesday advanced the third in a series of GOP bills aimed at rewriting the "No Child Left Behind" law, despite Democrats' protests that the measure would undermine civil rights. The legislation (HR 2445) would grant states and school districts new authority over how they spend federal dollars, allowing them to use money currently provided for specific programs for a wide range of activities authorized or required under federal education law (PL 89-10). Congressional Quarterly



Arctic Oil and Gas Development conference at Center for Strategic and Intl' Studies 7/12/11. YouTube has video recordings of the keynote speakers, Senator Lisa Murkowski, DOI Dep. Sec. David Hayes, and USARC Chair Fran Ulmer.


House Votes to Block EPA on Water Pollution. The House on Wednesday approved legislation to smack down the Obama administration's water pollution policies, despite a looming veto threat from the White House. The chamber voted 239-184 to adopt a bipartisan bill that seeks to limit EPA's authority over state water quality decisions after recent agency actions have irked lawmakers, particularly in coal states and in Florida. Politico


New Agency Could be Good News for Alaska. Oil industry leaders who put time and money into development are fed up with delays in getting permits to operate in Alaska. The loss of the state's Coastal Management Program staff to aid in streamlining permit applications didn't help. This week the Obama Administration made a single positive step toward moving things forward and giving businesses who seek to develop Alaska's abundant energy sources a fair chance. President Barack Obama signed an executive order that formed an "interagency working group" charged with coordinating energy development in Alaska. Juneau Empire


Website dedicated to Alaskan Arctic Research. Frontier Scientists, a recently launched website and online community, connects those interested in breaking discoveries in the Alaskan Arctic with field scientists. It's a project of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and WonderVisions with funding from the National Science Foundation. Check it out here.


Wholesale Alaskan Salmon Prices Up Overall. The first wholesale price for salmon gives the best indicator of how well it should sell in world markets. And prices in 2011 show nice increases so far, nearly across the board. In its annual salmon price report (ASPR) the state Revenue Department/Tax Division provides average wholesale prices for salmon as it sells throughout the year. The report is broken down by Alaska region and covers six product forms: canned, fresh/frozen whole, fresh/frozen fillets and roe. The reports are compiled from prices submitted by processors that sold at least 1 million pounds at wholesale. The ASPR covering sales from January through April show that prices were up substantially in almost every salmon category. Perishable News 


IAEA to Check Nuclear Security in Russia's Arctic Region. The experts of therussian flag International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are to check the nuclear security of the Archangelsk region in Russia's north. On Wednesday, two-days emergency control exercises have begun in the city of Severodvinsk. The goal is to check how quickly and efficiently the region can react and withstand the disasters linked to radioactive contamination. The Archangelsk region is known as the center of Russia's nuclear shipbuilding industry and the area where the facilities for utilization of submarines and radioactive waste are located. The Voice of Russia

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                    


Tribal Energy Development at the Federal Level, July 14-15, 2011. Law Seminars International will host a seminar for attorneys, tribes, industry executives, and government officials to discuss energy development on tribal lands.


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  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 exchange of 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. Notably, the workshop will be attended by the oil spill work package of the EU ACCESS project (Arctic Climate Change and its Effect on Economic Systems). 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 Arctic developed or developing regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The main focus of the meeting 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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