US Arctic Research Commission
June 15, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate may vote to confirm Leon Panetta as the Secretary of Defense.The Armed Services Committee approved Panetta's nomination on Tuesday. The House will continue to consider the FY12 Agriculture Approps. bill. 


Meetings of State Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, June 13-17, 2011. The State Parties to UNCOLS will host  their 21st meeting in New York to host elections, review information submitted to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority, hear a report from the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and review a report on issues of a general nature, relevant to State parties, that have arisen with respect to the United Nations

Convention on the Law of the Sea.


Alaska Outer Continental Shelf Permits, June 15-17. The Environmental Protection Agency will hold meetings in Kaktovik (June 15) and Barrow (June 16-17) to consider air permit applications for exploratory oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas as well new water permits for activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas to replace the expiring Arctic Oil and Gas Exploration NPDES General Permit.


Media Reviewtodaysevents    


House Panel Approves $11 Billion Increase in Defense Spending. After debating the merits of military bands and NASCAR sponsorships, the House militarymarchingbandsAppropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a measure that would swell defense spending by $11 billion. The panel unanimously agreed to a $530 billion 2012 appropriations bill that, when added to a $14 billion military construction measure, would hand the Pentagon $544 billion next year. That would be $9 billion less than the Obama administration requested, but $11 billion over the enacted 2011 amount. The Hill


Economic Development Agency is a Waste of Money, Senator Says. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a tea party stalwart dedicated to reducing the size of the government, has set his sights on the Economic Development Administration. The EDA was founded in 1965 to help promote economic competitiveness and create jobs, but DeMint says it wastes money with the promotion of "pet projects." Government Executive


Five Senate Subcommittees Approve Their Portions of Defense Authorization Bill. Several Senate Armed Services panels on Tuesday approved a draft defense authorization measure that would scale back proposed spending for military construction projects and defense contracting. The Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support approved its portion of the annual measure without objection, becoming the first Senate subcommittee in 15 years to mark up that legislation in an open meeting. Congressional Quarterly


Official Says Proposed Cuts to Coast Guard Spending Could Harm Readiness. icebreakersThe Homeland Security appropriations bill recently passed by the House would hinder the Coast Guard's efforts to replace its aging fleet with new vessels, the service's commandant said Tuesday. The $1.2 billion included in the bill (HR 2017) for acquisitions is more than $200 million below President Obama's budget request and excludes six patrol boats and 10 of the 45-foot medium response boats the Coast Guard had wanted, Adm. Robert J. Papp said. Congressional Quaterly 


Arctic Sea Ice Covered Third Smallest Area During May. The extent of Arctic sea ice covered the third smallest area ever recorded by satellite for the month of May, continuing the frozen pack's decades-long decline in volume and extent, according to the most recent post by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Alaska Dispatch


Arctic Spill "Response Gap" Under Microscope. Make no mistake about it: the Arctic is open for business. The cumulative environmental footprint of oil exploration outfits, merchant shipping, mining, eco-tourism and the cruise ship trades is thus far minor, but the potential for an exponential increase in commerce - especially if the climate trends now affecting the region continue - is seemingly limitless. For the maritime industry, the down side to this is as big as the most promising business opportunity to come along in decades. Marine Link 


Nominations Sent to the Senate. The President sent several nominations to the Senate including Kenneth Kopocis to be an Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. The White House

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 2055, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations (Culberson, agreed to in the House)


H.R. 2112, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies appropriations (Kingston, Considered in the House)


S. 782, Economic Development Revitalization Act (Boxer, considered in the Senate)


S. 1192, Alaska Safe Families and Villages Act (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)


Future Events                 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute,

Fran Ulmer

Commonwealth North, and the Institute of the North will host a domestic investment and policy forum titled "The Arctic Imperative." The forum, at the Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, will bring together international policymakers, industry, and investment leaders to consider topics such as security, resources, port development, marine shipping, commerce, and trade. The goal of the gathering is to "sharpen the world's focus on the policy and investment needs of Arctic development through a series of high-level meetings, presentations and investor roundtables." Confirmed speakers include Fran Ulmer, Chair of the USARC; Edward Itta, Mayor of the North Slope Borough; Thomas Barrett, President of the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Mead Treadwell, Lt. Gov. of the State of Alaska; David Rubenstein, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group; Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislator, among others.


4th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval NIC_logo

and Maritime Operations, June 20-22, 2011 (downtown DC).  The symposium, co-hosted by the U.S. National Ice Center and the U.S. Arctic Research in Arctic Ocean sea ice on a wide range of maritime operations. Confirmed speakers include the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Research, RADM Nevin Carr Jr., the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The forum is a key opportunity to learn about changes in the Arctic environment, and the manner in which they are being responded to in terms of policies and practices. Registration is now open.


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. 


4th International Sea Duck Conference, September 12-16, 2011. The seaduckconference is held to provide researchers and managers with opportunities to share information, research, and conduct workshops.


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


Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, October 1-2, 2011.  Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society and the regional government of Arkhangelsk, 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 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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