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November 18, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider the Department of Defense authorization bill. The House will consider a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.


Media Reviewtodaysevents  


president signingSenate Overcomes Conflicts to Pass Minibus. The Senate today sent President Barack Obama a package of three spending bills, which includes a provision that keeps the government funded through Dec. 16. Senate action on the minibus, which was passed 70 to 30, came a few hours after the House passed the package 298-121. Roll Call




Super Committee Stares Down Deadline. For the still-divided super committee, three-and-a-half months of work have boiled down to three days. The panel likely needs to submit a package to Congress' budget scorekeeper by Monday to hold its Wednesday final vote. But at this rate, it's unclear whether the bicameral, bipartisan group of lawmakers will have anything to vote on, especially something that could garner the seven votes necessary to send a package to the full Congress for approval. Roll Call


harry reidChambers Look Toward Recess. Senate Democratic leaders hope to pass a package of three appropriations bills and a temporary funding extension this evening that will keep the federal government operating through mid-December. The minibus is on track to be considered by the House this evening and, if passed, then sent to the Senate. "The information I have gotten from the House, and that could change, is that it will be late," Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the Senate floor today. Roll Call


Russia to Have Ten Arctic Rescue Centers by 2015. Russian authorities allocated 910 billion rubles for the creation of ten centers for search and rescue along the Northern Sea Route. The centers are expected to be completed by 2015. Barents Observer


UAF Awarded Fund for Toolik Field Station Research. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has been awarded $16 million in federal funds to support work at Toolik Field Station, a research facility in the northern foothills of the Brooks Range. The National Science Foundation award, part of a five-year agreement, will help fund housing, utilities, meals, communications, lab space, vehicles and science equipment, according to a UAF press release. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner


Do Alaska's Little Lemmings Play Special Roles in Climate Change? Warming temperatures and longer summer seasons may have triggered a tundra growth spurt in Alaska and across the Far North. But a new study of plant ecology outside of Barrow has uncovered another factor scurrying through the regional green-up: lemmings. A research team found that Arctic tundra crawling with the 3-ounce herbivores appears to thrive -- lush with the very grasses and sedges these furry rodents love to munch. Experimental plots where fences have excluded lemmings for the past 50 years pale by comparison -- with higher concentrations of moss and lichen, and much browner vegetation. Alaska Dispatch


Environments, Alaska Native Groups Challenge Salazar's Chukchi Lease Sale Conclusion. Alaska Native and environmental groups are back in court challenging Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's conclusion that a 2008 petroleum lease sale in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast meets federal environmental law. Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. spent $2.1 billion on Chukchi leases and hopes to drill during the open water season next summer. Alaska Public Radio 


Ocean Caucus Co-Chair Murkowski Hosts Alaskan Expert. Senator Murkowski today convened a briefing of the Senate Oceans Caucus by bringing an expert on the changing ocean environment from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Senator Murkowski is co-chair of the caucus and selected Dr. Jeremy Mathis to speak before the group - spurred by a conversation the two shared during a recent Fairbanks visit. "I am very pleased Dr. Mathis accepted my invitation to present at the Oceans Caucus today," said Murkowski. "I think the information we will gain about what we're seeing within our oceans - and the changes we are seeing - is information that other members will be interested in, as we attempt to educate lawmakers about what we are seeing in our oceans." Senator Lisa Murkowski 


ANWRKey Alaska Needs Cross the Finish Line on Capitol Hill. Murkowski provides a summary of several Arctic and Alaska provisions that were included in the minibus, including a Joint Polar Satellite System: $924 million will fund crucial weather tracking technology, as well as monitor beacons that save lives.  JPSS continues to improve America's environmental, weather, climate and oceanographic science and research - along with medium- and long-term weather forecasts; Marine Spatial Planning - Federal funding was removed from the NOAA program - as insisted upon by Senator Murkowski - that would have allowed the Executive Branch to dictate how States can and cannot use oceans and coasts; Pacific Salmon Treaty: $9.6 million dollars will fund Pacific Salmon Treaty-related activities and compliance with the 1985 accord with Canada.  Those dollars will help maintain stock and monitor fishery activities, and also ensure compliance with treaty conservation and harvest sharing commitments; Fishery Stock Assessments: $63 million will be disbursed to the nation's fisheries to provide the most timely and accurate data possible, informing decisions such as quota numbers - an increase requested by Senator Murkowski from the $51 million provided in FY11. Senator Lisa Murkowski


begichPirate Fishing Boats Belong at the Bottom of the Sea. To send a strong message to pirate fishing vessels engaging in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU), U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young have introduced legislation giving NOAA and the Coast Guard a variety of options for disposing of such ships including sinking them in live-fire training exercises. The move comes after an incident last month when the Coast Guard seized the Bangun Perkasa, a rat-infested ship that was illegally fishing 2,600 miles southwest of Kodiak with more than 10 miles of illegal driftnets on board.  At the time, Sen. Begich urged the Coast Guard to sink the ship, but the service did not have the resources to decontaminate the vessel to make it safe to sink. Senator Mark Begich


Guggenheim Partners Announces Arctic Investment Fund: Environmentalists fear the move by the privately held investment firm based in the US will accelerate exploitation of the region. Guggenheim Partners, a privately held investment firm based in the US, which manages more than $125bn worth of assets on behalf of its clients, has confirmed it is setting up a new fund dedicated to making investments in the Arctic region. The news has been criticized by environmentalists who fear that it will further accelerate the exploitation by oil and shipping companies of the region which is being made even more accessible by climate change. The fund was first revealed over the weekend at a conference held by the Juneau World Affairs Council in the Alaskan capital on the "politics of climate change". Alice Rogoff, the publisher of Alaska Dispatch who is married to one of America's wealthiest men, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, told the conference that she had learned Guggenheim Partners was planning a fund "worth billions". She added that it might concentrate first on building a privately funded icebreaker, which could then be leased to the US coastguard. The Guardian 


Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered yesterday.

Future Events                                   


Airships to the Arctic VI: A Game-Changer, December 5-6, 2011. The sixth Airships to the Arctic conference explores the forward and backward linkages of the emerging airship industry. The introduction of transport airship will require new locations for transshipment and generate economic opportunities that do not exist today. Just as these other modes of transport spawned an array of input suppliers, this conference examines the supply base of the airship industry. Construction of large transport airships will create the need for materials, engines, pilots, avionics and many other large and small input suppliers.  


AGU Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 2011. The American Geophysical Union's ("AGU") Fall Meeting to connect with colleagues, broaden their knowledge base, and embrace the joy of science.  The groundbreaking research presented at this world-renowned event is critical to advancing our understanding of the natural world and to addressing the challenges society faces as they relate to our science. As an organization, AGU works to unite Earth and space scientists who are dedicated to the common goal: scientific discovery for the benefit of humanity.  One of the most important ways we do this is through the Fall Meeting - an event that embodies who we are as a scientific organization and that is key to helping us achieve our organizational mission, vision and goals. 


Alaska Marine Science Symposium, January 16-20, 2012. The symposium was first held in 2002 to connect scientists in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and beyond in an effort to collaborate and communicate on research


activities in the marine regions off Alaska. There will be plenary and poster sessions featuring a broad spectrum of ocean science on issues of climate, oceanography, lower trophic levels, the benthos, fish and invertebrates, seabirds, marine mammals, local and traditional knowledge, and socioeconomic research. There will also be speakers, workshops and special sessions.


Arctic Science Summit Week 2012, April 20-22, 2012. The summit will provide opportunities for international coordination, collaboration and cooperation in all areas of Arctic science. Side meetings organized by stakeholders in Arctic science and policy are also expected. More information to follow. 


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring together over 2,000 Arctic and Antarctic researchers, policy and decision-makers, and a broad range of interested parties from academia, industry, non-government, education and circumpolar communities including indigenous peoples. The conference is hosted by the Canadian IPY Program Office in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada, among other groups. Each day of the conference will feature a program of keynote speakers, plenary panel discussions, parallel science sessions, as well as dedicated poster sessions. The conference-wide plenaries will explore themes related to topics of polar change, global linkages, communities and health, ecosystem services, infrastructure, resources and security. Other sessions will provide the opportunity to present and discuss the application of research findings, policy implications and how to take polar knowledge to action. 


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.  


The Arctic Imperative Summit, July 29-August 1, 2012. The summit will be hosted by Alaska Dispatch and will bring together leading voices in this conversation, including residents from the small villages that comprise Alaska's coastal communities; state, national and international leaders; the heads of shipping and industry; as well as international policymakers and the news media. The goal of the summit is to sharpen the focus on the policy and investment needs of Alaska's Arctic through a series of high level meetings, presentations, investor roundtables and original research.


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.


White House Tribal Nations Conference, December 2, 2011. President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior. As part of President Obama's ongoing outreach to the American people, this conference will provide leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration. Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference. This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President's commitment to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  

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