US Arctic Research Commission
May 17, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Today, the Senate will consider a judicial nomination and a bill to repeal tax cuts for large oil and gas companies. The House is not in session.

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Senate to Vote on Oil Tax Bill Tuesday. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the Democrats' controversial bill that would cut the tax breaks received by the big five oil companies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture Monday night on the legislation, which means it would come to a vote at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday evening.  The Hill 


Government Review Finds Federal Inspections of Imported Seafood Lacking. antifreeze fishFederal efforts to inspect imported seafood for food safety violations are hampered by limited laboratory testing and an ongoing failure among agencies to coordinate their oversight of foreign fish products, the Government Accountability Office found in a review released Monday. At the request of four senators, the GAO focused on farmed fish exported to the United States, which constitutes about half of all seafood that enters the country. The study concluded that the lead food safety agency, the Food and Drug Administration, needs to expand the network of labs it uses to analyze test samples for residues of unapproved drugs. 


Striking Ecological Impact on Canada's Arctic Coastline Linked to Global Climate Change. Scientists from Queen's and Carleton universities head a national multidisciplinary research team that has uncovered startling new evidence of the destructive impact of global climate change on North America's largest Arctic delta. Science Daily


Energy Debate Carries Political Risk. The Senate will debate this week competing energy proposals that pose multiple challenges for leaders of both parties. Democrats are bringing to the floor a bill that would end some tax breaks for the five largest oil companies, and Republicans will counter with a measure to boost domestic fuel production.


BP-Rosneft $16 Billion Share Swap Deal Fails. BP's hopes of making Arctic oil BP, Rosneftproduction the key to its recovery from the Gulf of Mexico spill were dealt a severe blow on Tuesday after it failed to secure a $16 billion share swap with Russia's state-backed Rosneft. BP PLC revealed a midnight deadline for the deal expired after it failed to broker a settlement with its Russian partners in TNK-BP, its existing joint venture in the country, who have objected to the Rosneft deal. Anchorage Daily News 


Denmark Preparing to Stake Claim to North Pole. A leaked government document shows Denmark plans to lay claim to the North Pole and other areas in the Arctic, where melting ice is uncovering new shipping routes, fishing grounds and drilling opportunities for oil and gas. The draft document titled "Strategy for the Arctic" also says Denmark's Science Ministry has started collecting data to formally submit a claim for those areas to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf no later than 2014. Forbes 


Does China Have an Eye on the Arctic? Last week, WikiLeaks published a new round of diplomatic cables in concert with an annual meeting of the Arctic Council in Nuuk, Greenland. Written between 2007 and 2010, the cables highlight the lingering sense of global insecurity over who owns what at the rooftop of the world. They don't cover any particularly new ground, but they are interesting because of the candor with which their subject - the competition for potential Arctic resources - is treated, particularly by the U.S. in regards to Greenland. (U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a special trip to Nuuk last week for the Arctic Council meeting.) Time


Arctic Science Needs more Inuit, Greenlandic Scientists Say: "Knowledge is knowledge - whoever has it" More young Inuit should consider becoming scientists, Parnuna Egede, who recently completed her graduate studies in biology, and Minik Rosing, a world-famous geologist, both of Greenland, said at a conference in Copenhagen earlier this month. Nunatsiaq Online 

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


H.R. 1231, Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act (Received in the Senate)


H.R. 1765, Migratory Bird Treaty Amendment (Referred to House subcommittee)


S.843, Outer Continental Shelf Permit Processing Coordination Act (Senate committee hearing scheduled)


S. 916, Oil and Gas Facilitation Act (Senate committee hearing scheduled)

Future Events     


International Oil Spill Conference, May 23-26, 2011. This conference's theme of "Promoting the Science of Spill Response" continues the long tradition of providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and lessons learned from actual spill responses and research around the world. This conference will also continue the North American part of the Triennial Oil Spill Conference Cycle established in 2005, to be followed by Interspill 2012 (Europe) and Spillcon 2013 (SE Asia), before returning to North America in 2014. The Arctic focus will be on May 25th. 

6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May 31-June 3, 2011. The International Conference on Arctic Margins was founded by the Department of Interior and what was formerly called the Minerals Management Service. 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.


American Meteorological Society Summer Policy Colloquium, June 5-14, 2011. 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. 


The Arctic Imperative, June 19-21, 2011. The Alaska Dispatch, Aspen Institute, 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 in the Chugach Mountains, 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 and Maritime Operations, June 20-21, 2011.The symposium is co-hosted by the U.S. SCICEXicediminisharcticNational Ice Center (NIC) and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. This symposium addresses present and future impacts of rapid changes in Arctic Ocean sea ice cover 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., and the Commandant of the US Coast Guard ADM Robert Papp. The forum, the fourth in a series, is a key opportunity for federal entities to discuss their response to changes in both the Arctic environment and associated policies. Registration is now open.


7th Congress of the International Arctic Social Sciences, June 22-26, 2011Akureyri 

The 7th Congress, "Circumpolar Perspectives in Global Dialogue: Social Sciences Beyond the IPY," will be held in Akureyri, Iceland. The  Intl'

Congress of the Arctic Social Sciences is held every 3 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 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 conference 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 

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


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. 


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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