Arctic Update Header
October 18, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate is expected to consider FY 2012 funding vehicles.  The House is in recess.

Media Reviewtodaysevents    


House Republicans call for termination of NSF Grants for Arctic Research. Congressional Majority Leader Eric Cantor's website, YOUCUT, includes a video of Congressman Joe Walsh proposing elimination of Arctic research grants by the National Science Foundation.     


Congressman Walsh's video is below, and here

Congressman Joe Walsh Announces This Week's Winning YouCut Item 
Congressman Joe Walsh proposes cutting NSF Arctic Research funding 
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Fran Ulmer, Chair, USARC

STATEMENT in response by USARC's Chair, Fran Ulmer"Improving the effectiveness of federal spending is indeed important, but as the Chair of the USARC, I disagree with Congressman Walsh's proposed reduced support for Arctic research grants at the National Science Foundation. Now, perhaps more than ever, Arctic research to improve our understanding of the Arctic is critically important to the United States. Research provides the observations and knowledge about the resources and ecosystems of the Arctic region, and the people who live there. That information is essential to resource managers and policy makers ranging from the Coast Guard and the Navy to the Department of Interior and the Department of State, so they can make sound decisions, and be prepared for the many activities and developments unfolding in the region that have international implications. The Arctic is one of the fastest changing places on the planet. To ensure responsible development (oil, gas, minerals, fisheries, tourism), information from scientific research is critically needed by both the public and private sector. The NSF investment in our nation's future is a small expenditure with a tremendous return on investment."  


House Science Committee Needs Transparency, say Brad Miller. A North Carolina Democrat says a change in House Science Committee rules is keeping members from learning enough about the financial interests of people who testify in hearings. But after being rebuked by Republicans, Rep. Brad Miller says he might no longer use his time in hearings to try to quiz the witnesses about their finances. Instead, he'll pose those questions in writing. Miller tried to press the issue Oct. 4 during a House Science subcommittee hearing on EPA clean-air standards, during which he asked California engineering consultant J. Edward Cichanowicz for financial information related to his testimony. Politico 


TreadwellWarming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic. Rounding the northernmost tip of Russia in his oceangoing tugboat this summer, Capt. Vladimir V. Bozanov saw plenty of walruses, some pods of beluga whales and in the distance a few icebergs. One thing Captain Bozanov did not encounter while towing an industrial barge 2,300 miles across the Arctic Ocean was solid ice blocking his path anywhere along the route. Ten years ago, he said, an ice-free passage, even at the peak of summer, was exceptionally rare. New York Times 




Native Peoples' Concepts of Health are Displayed at National Medical totemLibrary. Standing tall near the entrance to the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Bethesda is a 20-foot totem pole. Carved by Jewell Praying Wolf James of the Lummi Indian Nation of the Pacific Northwest, it was erected last week to inaugurate an exhibit called "Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness." The library, part of the National Institutes of Health, created the exhibition with the help of indigenous groups throughout the United States. Using oral histories, cultural artifacts and interactive media, the exhibit examines such topics as the importance of ceremonies, the "pre-Captain Cook diet" of Pacific islanders, native views of land and food, the lethal epidemics of European disease and the relationship of traditional healing with Western medicine. A timeline points out, among other surprises, that while most early cultures understood anatomy only from examining the remains of animals, the Unangan people, who lived 12,000 years ago on the Aleutian Islands, dissected the bodies of their enemies and slaves, learning skills that enabled them, for example, to suture wounds. The free exhibit will be at the library for about two years and then will travel to museums around the United States. Washington Post 


Cutter Healy: Ice Cold Science. While many Americans took advantage of the last remnants of summer, crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy, the nation's largest icebreaker, were exploring the arctic. Healy was on their second of four missions for their Arctic West Summer-Winter deployment and was joined by the Canadian coast guard as they mapped the sea floor. 


Science Magazine Publishes Reviews on Lingonberry and Cell Membrane. lingonberryLingonberry or cowberry is native to boreal forest and Arctic tundra in the Northern Hemisphere of Europe, Asia and America. Under commercial horticultural cultivation, production techniques are similar to that of other important Vaccinium crops such as blueberry and cranberry. Naturally lingonberry grows as a short, evergreen shrub that bears edible red fruits. Due to their sour taste the fruits are usually sweetened before eating in the form of jam, juice or syrup. They contain organic acids, vitamin C, provitamin A, B vitamins, nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytochemicals counteracting urinary-tract infections. The review focuses on aspects of cultivation of Lingonberry including micropropagation and use of plastic mulch, effects of pest incidence on domestic and export markets in Newfoundland, and the allelopathic effects (cell growth inhibition) of phenolic constituents in lingonberry shoot powder. San Francisco Chronicle 


US Met Obligations for Polar Bear Protection, Judge Rules. A federal judge ruled Monday that the government did not breach its obligations under the Endangered Species Act by not considering greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to protect polar bears. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan also concluded that federal officials were within their authority to allow "incidental" harm to polar bears that might occur as a result of oil and gas activities in the Arctic, provided that those activities already are authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The judge did find, however, that the government erred in not undertaking an environmental review before it issued its special rule on polar bears in 2008 -- a shortcoming so serious that he sent the matter back for a new review. Anchorage Daily News   



Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1717, to prevent the escapement of genetically altered salmon in the United States (Begich, introduced and referred to committee)

Future Events                                   


Alaska Federation of Natives, October 20-22. The AFN Convention (October 20 to October 22) is the largest representative annual gathering in the United States of any Native peoples. Delegates are elected on a population formula of one representative per twenty-five Native residents in the area and delegate participation rates at the annual convention typically exceed 95 percent. Each year the AFN Convention draws between 4,000-5,000 attendees. The proceedings are broadcast live via television, radio and webcast reaching a diverse audience from Barrow to Ketchikan, from the Aleutian Chain to the Canadian border. During the convention, the entire state of Alaska is blanketed with discussion on current events and issues. International observers are present at most meetings, both exchanging information and learning from the Alaska Native experience. 


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.

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