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April 16, 2012

Today's Eventstodaysevents 


The House and Senate return from the April recess today. 


Today, the Senate is expected to consider tax legislation. The House is expected to consider several legislative items under suspension of the rules.



The Week at a Glance: April 16-20, 2012. The Senate will resume consideration of the "Buffet Rule," which would set a minimum effective tax rate for high-income earners. The chamber votes Monday afternoon on cloture on the provision. The House will consider another extension of surface transportation programs. Subcommittees in both the House and Senate are expected to consider 2013 spending bills. Congressional Quarterly


Rush to Establish Arctic Economy Risky for Ecosystems, Warns Report. Rushing too fast into exploration of the Arctic could lead to ruined ecosystems, warns insurer Lloyd's of London. Their latest report, produced by UK think tank Chatham House, makes them the first major business organization to join the environmentalists in warning about the huge potential for environmental damage from drilling for oil in the Arctic. They estimate that during the next decade $100 billion could be invested in the region - with oil and gas, mining and shipping expected to be the biggest drivers. RTCC 


Link to Lloyd's of London report: Arctic Opening: Opportunity and Risk in the High North  


Oil Drilling in AlaskaInterior, Coast Guard Forge Agreement on Oil Spill Planning and Response. The Interior Department and U.S. Coast Guard have inked a formal agreement that lays out their roles and collaboration in offshore oil spill preparation and response, a step that comes ahead of the two-year anniversary of the BP disaster. The "memorandum of agreement" signed April 3 between Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Coast Guard addresses inspections, training, response to accidents and other matters. The agencies share jurisdiction in regulating offshore oil-and-gas activities, but the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill laid bare the need for better federal and industry accident preparation. The Hill 


Charlie Johnson, Alaskan Arctic Leader, Has Passed Away. Charlie Johnson of Nome, an Iņupiat leader and key figure in Alaska's participation in policies affecting the circumpolar Arctic reportedly passed away on Thursday. Johnson was executive director of the Nanuuq Commission, which represents Alaska villages on a range of matters concerning the polar bear, and which participates as a partner in a U.S./Russia bilateral treaty along with the Association of Marine Mammal Hunters of Chukotka. Among Johnson's many contributions, he held the Circumpolar Arctic Research seat on the Alaska Native Science Commission, was former executive director for the Eskimo Walrus Commission, served as president of Bering Straits Native Corporation and president of Kawerak, Incorporated, was an advisor to the Marine Mammal Commission, former chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives, former chair of the Indigenous People's Council for Marine Mammals, a member and former vice president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and a former commissioner o the United States Arctic Research Commission. Johnson was also a leader in establishing and administering visa-free passage for indigenous Chukotkans and Alaskans traveling between Russian and Alaska. Alaska Dispatch 


New Arctic Focus Reveals Navy Capability Gaps. To the world's military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts. By Arctic standards, the region is already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that will increase significantly in the years ahead. Last month, Norway wrapped up one of the largest Arctic maneuvers ever - Exercise Cold Response - with 16,300 troops from 14 countries training on the ice for everything from high intensity warfare to terror threats. Attesting to the harsh conditions, five Norwegian troops were killed when their C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed near the summit of Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Navy Times 


ChinaflagChina Claims Swedish Support in Arctic Council Bid. China has the support of Sweden to become a permanent observer at the eight-member Arctic Council, part of Beijing's plan to seek a more active role in the region, a deputy Chinese foreign minister said Monday. China has economic and scientific interests in the Arctic and will further its co-operation with Arctic countries to promote stability and development in the region, Song Tao told reporters at a briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visits to Iceland, Sweden, Germany and Poland. CTV 


russian flagRussia to Set Up Arctic Frontier Posts. Russia plans to establish twenty new Arctic border posts to control its Northern frontier and the Northern Sea Route. Some 15-20 border guards will be stationed at each location to monitor the situation and take part in rescue operations if necessary, Vladimir Pronichev, the country's Border Guard Service chief, told Izvestia daily. He added that some of the posts will be established near nine rescue centers of the Emergencies Ministry and the Ministry of the Transportation to be opened as part of a government plan on the development of the so-called Northern Sea Route. The rest will be set up on remote islands. RT 


Seals Found in Alaska Waters Could Soon be Listed as Endangered. As many as six species of ice seals could be joining the endangered species list this summer, following final review and decisions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Of the four species of ringed seals and two distinct population segments of bearded seals, only two of them appear in U.S. or Alaska waters. Those two are the Arctic ringed seal and the Beringia DPS bearded seal. This week NOAA opened a 30-day public comment period regarding recently completed peer reviews addressing the endangerment status of these seals. Alaska Dispatch 


Canada, Arctic Neighbors Create Search-and-Rescue Operations Pact: Defense Chiefs Urge Unity When Emergencies Strike. Defense chiefs from eight Arctic nations agreed Friday in Goose Bay, N.L., to co-operate more closely on dealing with disasters and search-and-rescue operations in the Arctic. "I am very pleased with the discussions amongst the eight chiefs of defense just completed in Goose Bay," said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defense Staff. "This is the first time the northern chiefs of defense have had the opportunity to meet, as a forum, to discuss issues unique to our respective regions. We were able to gain an understanding of the unique challenges each faces with regards to emergency response and for support to our civilian authorities. Ottawa Citizen


Coast Guard SealCoast Guard Judge Advocate General to Speak on Law of the Sea Convention at Sea Air and Space Expo. The Coast Guard's Judge Advocate General, Rear Adm. Frederick Kenney, is participating in a panel discussion at the Sea Air Space Expo at National Harbor, Md., Wednesday, addressing ratification of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The panel entitled "Law of the Sea - Threat to National Security or Vital to National Prosperity?" discusses the proposed ratification. There are now 161 parties to the Convention, including almost all of the traditional allies of the United States, and all Arctic nations. US Coast Guard

Legislative Actionfutureevents  


No Arctic legislation was formally considered Friday.

Future Events               


Law of the Sea-Threat to National Security or Vital to National Prosperity?April 18, 2012. There will be a panel discussion on the Law of the Sea at the Sea Air Space Expo, a program of the Navy League of the United States.  


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 here


From Knowledge to Action, April 22-27, 2012. The conference will bring IPYmeetinglogotogether 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. Click here


USARC Commission Meeting, April 27-28, 2012. The 97th meeting of the CPClogoUSARC will be held in Montreal, Canada, in conjunction with the "From Knowledge to  


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Action" IPY meeting referred to above. The Commission will meet on April 27-28, and will meet jointly with the Canadian Polar Commission on the afternoon of the 27th, to discuss common interests in Arctic Research. Details here. 


Arctic Forum 2012, April 30-May 1, 2012. The Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. will host the forum in conjunction with their 24th annual meeting. Both events will be in Washington, D.C. The Arctic Forum is part of the American Geophysical Union's Science Policy Conference, which will be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The Conference will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions. Within the Science Policy Conference, the Arctic Forum will assess gaps and priority needs for arctic scientific information to inform decision makers in policy formation for three key themes:

                - Governance and Security in the Arctic;

                - Transportation and Energy Development; and

                - Changing Arctic Ecosystems.

The Forum will examine the current state of policymaker and public understanding of the issues. An important goal will be to foster an increased capacity for dialogue and action on arctic science-policy issues.


AGU Science Policy Conference, April 30- May 3, 2012. The American Geophysical Union hosts a policy conference in Washington, D.C. to bring together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our environment, economy, national security, and public safety. This meeting will focus on the science that helps inform policymakers' decisions related to natural hazards, natural resources, oceans, and the Arctic. 


[Postponed]American Polar Society 75th Anniversary Meeting and Symposium, "The Polar Regions in the 21st Century: Globalization, Climate Change and Geopolitics", to occur in 2013, The Explorers Club, NYC. For 75 years, the American Polar Society has both documented and communicated polar activities to the interested world. This meeting will bring together the current leaders in science, government, commerce, and diplomacy for a state-of-the-art forecast of the next seventy-five years in a world influenced more than ever before by the destiny of the Arctic and Antarctic. Click 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. Click here.  


15th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, August 5-10, 2012. This event 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 healthmeetinglogoindigenous 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. Click here


The Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24-28, 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. Click here


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 inuitconferencelogomuseums 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, click here. 



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