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September 22, 2011

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The Senate will consider trade adjustment assistance and may consider a continuing resolution to fund government operations after September 30, 2011. The House will consider legislation to delay implementation of certain emissions standards for power plants. The House may also consider a continuing resolution.


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. Registration forms are available here.

Media Reviewtodaysevents


Leaders Regroup After Loss on CR. Congressional leaders are still seeking a way to keep the government running past the end of next week - and replenish dwindling disaster aid accounts - after a conservative revolt scuttled a stopgap bill backed by House Republican leadership. With the clock ticking before a potential government shutdown at the end of next week, and Congress scheduled to recess on Friday, leaders face tough choices. Once again, the two parties are locked in a showdown over spending, with Republicans demanding cutbacks and offsets for disaster aid and Democrats opposing those moves. Congressional Quarterly


Senate Committee Approves Authorization of Homeland Security Programs. A Senate panel on Wednesday endorsed an authorization bill for the Homeland Security Department for the first time since the agency's 2003 founding, approving the legislation by a wide margin. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee backed the bill, 12-5, one week after the first half of the bill's markup. In addition to authorizing various DHS programs, the amended measure would give Border Patrol agents greater access to federal lands along the Southwest border. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an amendment that would require the department to establish guidelines to protect civil liberties when countering homegrown extremism, sparking a contentious debate about whether to specify efforts to combat "Islamist terrorism" as the agency's priority. Congressional Quarterly


Oil Drilling in AlaskaFederal Agency Awards Contract for Sea Ice Study. The federal agency that oversees offshore petroleum drilling says it has awarded a contract of nearly a half-million dollars for a technical study of how Arctic sea ice fractures, breaks and flows in open waters. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement awarded the $499,981 to Dartmouth College for researchers at the Hanover, N.H., school's Thayer School of Engineering. Boston Globe


IcelandChinaflagIceland and China: Hands Off Our Wilderness. An Ambitious Chinese Entrepreneur Spooks Wary Icelanders. The polyglots of Iceland should be able to cope with the name Huang Nubo. But since the wealthy chairman of Zhongkun, a property-development company, made his bid for a vast plot of land, making up 0.3% of the island's land mass, to build a hotel development, he has become known simply as Kinverjinn (the Chinaman). For some, Mr Huang is just the type of investor the troubled Icelandic economy needs as it fights its way up from the 2008 slump. Others dislike the prospect of a foreigner buying up a huge amount of land that happens to be near several of Iceland's most remarkable natural sites. Ogmundur Jonasson, the interior minister, whose job it will be to approve the deal, spoke for many when he said that the Chinese were "buying up the world". The Economist 


Policies on Carbon Emissions Must be Similar in U.S., Canada: Ambassador. Finding a way to limit carbon emissions will be a major issue for Canada-U.S. relations, and the two countries can't be too far apart in their policies, U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson says. Putting a price on carbon is one way to slow down greenhouse gas emissions, but the price set by either country could influence where investment decisions are made, Jacobson told The Journal's editorial board Wednesday. It's important that national policies do not give one country a competitive advantage, he said, "so people won't make economic decisions based on the differences. You don't want to have a race to the bottom." Edmonton Journal


polar bear iceMore Interior Scientists Are Taking Heat. Scores of scientists work for the Interior Department on issues involving birds and bees, foxes and foxgloves, and all manner of other species and their habitats. But in the eyes of the general public they tend to be virtually anonymous, at best names in italics at the end of a Federal Register notice. Nonetheless, a spotlight has been trained recently on a few department employees: some National Park Service scientists at Point Reyes National Seashore on California's northern coast, and an Arctic wildlife biologist working for the Anchorage office of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. And this week, two Interior fish biologists were excoriated as deceitful zealots in an unusual diatribe by a federal judge, Oliver W. Wanger. New York Times 


Environment Canada Defends Ozone Monitoring Cuts. Environment Canada is admitting that a large chunk of its ozone-monitoring program is being cut, but insists that its capacity to measure the earth's protective layer of gas won't be hurt. The department has two separate technologies that measure ozone, but budget cuts will mean that the two separate networks won't be maintained, explained Karen Dodds, assistant deputy minister of the science and technology branch. CBC News

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


S. 1546, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act. (Lieberman, ordered to be reported by Senate committee) 

Future Events                         


Arkhangelsk Arctic Forum, September 21-24, 2011. Hosted by the Russian Geographic Society, 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 Arctic in Transition: Regional Issues and Geopolitics, October 3-4, 2011. The conference is organized by the Center for Geopolitical Studies of the Raoul Dandurand Chair, in collaboration with the Centre Jacques Cartier (France), ArcticNet (Universite Laval, Quebec), and the Northern Research Forum (University of the Arctic; University of Lapland, Finland). This high-level international meeting reunites political scientists, lawyers, geographers, historians and practitioners to discuss, first, the socio-economic, political and security issues of developed or developing Arctic regions, and, second, to look at the evolving relationships between these spaces, their peoples, and global affairs. The meeting mainly seeks to adress security issue(s) of the various region(s) that make up the circumpolar world. Three Arctic regions will be highlighted: a) the North-American Arctic (United States (Alaska); Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik) and Greenland; b) the North Pacific Rim (Alaska, Russian Far East, Beaufort Sea/Chukchi); c) the Barents Euro-Arctic Region (Nordic countries - Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland - and Russia).


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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