US Arctic Research Commission
May 23, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


Today, the Senate will consider legislation to reauthorize intelligence programs.The House consider a number of non-Arctic relative legislative provisions.


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. See X PRIZE news, below. 

Media Reviewtodaysevents  


Durbin: Gang of Six was ready to unveil its plan. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six was ready to announce a budget deal before its arguably most conservative member, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), dropped out on Tuesday. "We had a deal that cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years, and as far as I was concerned we were ready to announce it when [Coburn] left," Durbin said on "State of the Union." The Hill 


The Week at a Glance: May 23-27.  The House will consider bills related to veterans' programs, the Department of Defense authorization, and legislation regarding the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.  The Senate will consider an extension of the Patriot Act. Congressional Quarterly


Changes in Vegetation Determine How Animals Migrate. The predictability and scale of seasonal changes in a habitat help determine the distance migratory species move and whether the animals always travel together to the same place or independently to different locations, according to a paper published online in February in Global Ecology and Biogeography by the National Zoo's Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute researchers and partners. Science Daily 


Murkowski: Revised EIS Should Help Resolve Challenges in Chukchi, Allow Exploration to Move Forward. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, welcomed the release by the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) of a revised supplemental environmental impact statement for oil and natural gas development in the Chukchi Sea. "It's my hope that this additional analysis on the potential impacts on the region will help resolve the legal challenges that have held up resource exploration in the Chukchi Sea," Murkowski said. "There's still a lot of process yet to occur, but this is a step in the right direction." Senator Lisa Murkowski 


BP May Seek New, Not 'Reincarnated' Rosneft Deal, Shmatko Says. BP Plc (BP/) and OAO Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer, may hold talks on a new type of deal after a $7.8 billion share swap and Arctic exploration alliance collapsed, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said. Rosneft pulled out of its agreement with BP after a second deadline for the deal expired on May 16. The U.K. explorer's billionaire partners in TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer, argued their shareholder agreement gave them exclusive rights to pursue opportunities in Russia for BP. "The deal became a drag" in its previous form, Shmatko told reporters today in Moscow. "I don't believe in the possibility of reincarnation for that particular deal." Bloomberg


X PRIZE Foundation Announces Finalist Teams in the $1.4 million Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. The X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization solving

OHMSETT facility, NJ

the world's Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions, announced the 10 finalist teams (5 of which are from the US). The competition is designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface. The competition was launched in July 2010 in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The finalist teams will advance to the competition's Phase II Field Testing, where they will demonstrate their ability to efficiently and rapidly clean up oil on the ocean surface. These technology demonstrations will determine the winners and will take place this summer at OHMSETT - The National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility in New Jersey. The team that demonstrates the ability to recover oil on the sea-water surface at the highest oil recovery rate above 2,500 gallons per minute with an oil recovery efficiency of greater than 70 percent will win the $1 million First Place Prize. Second place will win $300,000, and third place will win $100,000. X Prize.


Summit Shows US is Trying to Catch Up on Arctic Issues. As declining sea ice and better mapping and technology make the Arctic more accessible, nations with interests there -- including the United States -- are beginning to stake their claim on the resource-rich region. Russia in 2007 planted a flag on the sea floor below the North Pole. Denmark this week announced it would ask the United Nations to recognize the North Pole as an extension of Greenland, its territory. And the U.S. this month for the first time sent a secretary of state to a meeting of eight Arctic nations, a sign that Americans also have their eye on the region's potential resources. Anchorage Daily News


Arctic Council Agrees on Tromso: Permanent secretariat will facilitate the council's work. At the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Nuuk, the Arctic Council agreed to set up a permanent secretariat in Tromso to coordinate work of the Arctic Nations. Barents Observer 


EU Left in the Cold. The Arctic Council did not open the door for the EU to serve as a permanent observer of its body.  EU may try again in spring 2013. Barents Observer


Volcanic Ash Closes Greenland Airspace. A portion of the airspace over Denmark's autonomous territory Greenland has been closed because of ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano, Danish air traffic control officials said on Monday.  Herald Sun


BOEMRE Releases Environmental Impact Statement of Chukchi Lease. The Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement or BOEMRE released today a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the Chukchi Sea lease sale 193. The draft was developed after environmental and Native organizations sued over the 2008 sale, saying important cumulative impacts from drilling were not considered in the first EIS. Alaska Public Radio


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No article related legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events     


6th International Conference on Arctic Margins, May31-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.


icediminisharcticNational 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.   


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 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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